This updated edition of Philip Reilly’s highly praised and provocative book has been expanded to include an essay about the fast-moving and controversial field of personal genomics. In the essay, Reilly explains how new, cutting-edge technologies have facilitated the rapid discovery of genetic markers associated with ailments such as macular degeneration, heart disease, and schizophrenia. He describes how the same powerful technologies can be used to interpret the DNA sequence of anyone in the world—who can afford it. But how valuable are the data obtained from these tests? Will “personalized medicine” really improve our health and well-being? And at what cost? Reilly’s new essay is a worthy addition to his entertaining and informative collection of stories on topics such as genetics and the future of sports, the evolutionary origins of humans, the mysteries of genetic diseases, the similarities between dogs and people, the impact of genetic engineering on what we eat, and the ethical dimensions of stem cell research.
About the author: Philip R. Reilly is a clinical geneticist, an attorney, and a biotechnology consultant who frequently writes about the societal implications of genetics. He was the CEO of Interleukin Genetics, Inc. from 2000 to 2006, and, prior to that, served as the Executive Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center for Mental Retardation, Inc., a position he had held since 1990. Dr. Reilly has held faculty appointments at Harvard Medical School, Brandeis University, and Tufts University School of Medicine. He has provided consulting services to many biotech and pharmaceutical companies, including Genzyme, Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., SmithKline Beecham, Myriad Genetics, Glaxo, Pharmacia, and Lilly. He is a founding fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics and for three years he was a member of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Human Genetics. He has twice (2000, 2003) served as President of the American Society of Law, Medicine, & Ethics, a not-for-profit organization located in Boston. He has served on many national committees chartered to explore public policy issues raised by advances in genetics and is frequently asked to comment on these topics in the national media. He is the author of six books and has published more than 100 articles.