The ability to identify the epigenetic traces of some environmental exposures might also have privacy implications (see page 167). It’s not yet possible to study an epigenome and say “this person eats too much saturated fat” or “this person used to use cocaine”, but it might be in the future. Without regulations in place, epigenetic data could therefore potentially be used for criminal profiling, or to deny people employment or health insurance.
We’re still grappling with many of the ethical conundrums involved in genetics research, let alone epigenetics. Scientists and ethicists continue to study and debate these issues, which are evolving along with our understanding of the science.
Aha! Epigenetic modification patterns characteristic of a long sea voyage. This is Charles Darwin’s epigenome.
Impressive! I’m glad I haven’t committed any crimes in the presence of all this new technology.