Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Smoking genes

The headline about "A Smoking Gene?" was what caught my eye, but the article is yet another example of the very peculiar way that questions about will come into talk about genetics and predispositions (this is why I was reading Leslie Farber on the will, trying to work some of this stuff out):

"Two geneticists, Dr. Kathleen Merikangas of the National Institute of Mental Health and Dr. Neil Risch of Stanford University, have taken on this challenge by introducing an intriguing framework for setting priorities for genetic research.
"The best candidates for genetic research, they believe, are disorders whose emergence and course cannot be derailed by changes in personal habits or manipulation of the environment. Examples are autism, Type 1 diabetes and Alzheimer's disease.
"In contrast, lower priority on the genetic research hierarchy should go to conditions like Type 2 diabetes or alcohol or nicotine addiction, they argue. Type 2 diabetes, after all, can be largely avoided through exercise and weight loss, and teenagers will buy less beer if taxes on alcohol are high enough. Similarly, a combination of smoking bans, social pressure and taxes have had an impact on smoking."

No comment for now, this is just another one for the collection...

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