The Brave New World of Gene Editing

Whether we like it or not, [genetic tests] are enabling us to deliberately change the frequency of certain human genes in the population. This is the technical definition of eugenics...
Heine reveals that according to one test, he has “a 32 percent increased chance” of developing Parkinson’s disease. Behind this alarming figure lurks the reality that his risk is only slightly higher than the small likelihood that is found in the general population (2.1 percent for Heine, 1.6 percent for the rest of us). That does not sound quite so bad. Or does it? What does a risk of 2.1 percent really mean? People have a hard time interpreting this kind of information and deciding how to change their lifestyle to reduce their chance of getting the disease, if such an option is available. (It is not for Parkinson’s.)

More from Matthew Cobb in the NY Review of Books here