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Sep 21, 2011 Commentary
Genomics' problem of communication

by Jenny Reardon

Since opening their doors in late 2006, personal genomics (PG) companies have faced skepticism and criticism from influential academic and government circles. While this has posed a clear problem of communication for these companies — one of effective promotion — I argue that the communication problem these companies face runs much deeper. It is a problem that lies at the heart of any genomics: the very understanding of communication and information around which genomics is built. While the value of genomic information for persons has been widely questioned, questions about the very notion of information that undergirds the production of genomic information rarely, if ever, has been broached. I suggest that making significant inroads into the vexing debates about PG would be greatly aided by addressing these more fundamental questions about the nature of information, and its genomic qualities.

Volume 10 • Issue 03 • 2011