Island story

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A famous soviet geneticist Nikolay Koltsov wrote that the realization of the eugenic programs is possible only with the moral degradation of the society, which means the refusal from the fundamental freedom of choice of the marital partner and creation of the repressive state. Many political actions of the Nazis (for example, destruction of “deficient” Jews and Slavic people or prohibition of the mixed marriages) had the scientific eugenic explanation. And in Iceland the eugenic movement which was under a strong German influence, didn’t determined the state’s politics, though it has an influence in the environment of nationalistically geared up part of the population.

As the Icelandic anthropologists admit, in the discussion around the biogenetic project more than once there was a thesis about the special value of unspoiled by alien mixes the Aryan genome of the Icelandic population. But in general the debate was concentrated around the right for access to the medical, biographical and genetic information. There was such a question: whose property is this? If this information belongs to the individual, then in every case it is necessary to ask for the permission for its usage (the principle of the voluntary agreement). If this is a social value or it belongs to the scientists who recovered it and that’s why possess it, then it is possible without the individual’s agreement. For the access to the medical information in the Icelandic project there was used (as a compromise) so-called the principle of agreement’s presumption – if the individual in advance didn’t prohibit the access to the information about him, then it is possible to use this information (for example, the data of the medical card) without asking the special permission. But if the individual prohibited, so it’s prohibited to use such information. For receiving the genetic information from the samples of the biomaterials (for example, blood) there is a principle of the voluntary informed agreement.

In other words, a new type of biopolitics is more democratic, and it take into account the certain balance between social and individual values. Though in contrast to old eugenic, the new biopolitics has in the quality of the subject (only potentially) not the bearer of the unfavorable genes, but genetic anomalies.

For many people in Iceland it is important the knowledge of their own genome, maybe even for the physical surviving. At the same time this can become means for surviving for many scientists, specialists in the sphere of genomics. But, to tell the truth, there are really many moral problems in this question.

Many people believe that using the information about their genes can spoil the future of their children and even their grandchildren. But…we are living in the century of the technological development and discoveries.

People are discovering something new all the time in different spheres of people’s lives. It is important to support the idea of the development of such important notions. People just need to trust the scientists as the science in the given context is the single source of many populations’ surviving and treatment of many even unknown illnesses.

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