On the one hand you have someone like Alex Tabarrok, with “Our DNA, Our Selves”, which is close to a libertarian cri de coeur.
Then you have cases like Christine Gorman, “FDA Was Right to Block 23and Me”.
I’ve noticed this on Facebook, where some seem to think that 23and Me and the Tea Party have something to do with each other, and the Obama administration and the FDA are basically stand-ins.
In other words, some liberals are seeing this dispute as one of those attempts to evade government regulation, something they support on prior grounds.
The government could potentially bankrupt 23and Me, but taking a step back that would still be like the RIAA managing to take down Napster.
The information is coming, and if there’s one thing that can overpower state planning it is consumer demand.
Though Tabarrok is more well informed than the average person (his wife is a biologist), there are others from the right-wing who are taking 23and Me’s side on normative grounds as well.
Ultimately I’m not interested in this this argument, because it’s not going to have any significant lasting power. As I implied in my piece 23and Me the company now is less interesting than personal genomics the industry sector in the future.
An interesting aspect is that many who are not deeply in the technical weeds of the issue are exhibiting politicized responses.I hope it is, but that’s because I want 23and Me to continue to subsidize genotyping services (I’ve heard that though 23and Me owns the machines, the typing is done by Lab Corp.And last I checked the upfront cost is a major loss leader; they’re paying you to get typed).Yet tunneling down to the level of 23and Me’s specific issues with the regulatory process, there is the reality that it has to deal with the US government and the FDA, no matter what the details of its science are. Matt Herper has a judicious take on this, 23and Stupid: Is 23and Me Self-Destructing?
I don’t have any “inside” information, so I’m not going to offer the hypothesis that this is part of some grand master plan by Anne Wojcicki.
Over the long term I’m optimistic that it will evolve into a field which impacts our lives broadly.