Morning Joe | December 13, 2012
>>> so cute. welcome back to " morning joe ." it is now time to look at "time" magazine with managing editor rick steppingel here to reveal the latest issue. and it is the cutest cover i've ever seen. it's adorable. what do you got?
>> so it's about the mainstreaming of genetic testing . want to know my future. there's an adorable baby on the cover.
>> that's a girl.
>> it is a girl. and it's about how in the future -- and even now genetic testing is becoming routine. in 2003 , 2004 when they basically cataloged the whole human genome , it cost over a billion dollars. now you can have it tested for about $7,000. there are more wholesale or retail firms which for 99 bucks you can get your 200 chromosomes. so we've always thought forewarned is forearmed. and the problem is that there's lots of things we can find out and know about that we can't do anything about. so do you really want to know that that little baby girl has genes that are likely to -- that she'll get dementia or parkinson's disease or things that we can't really do too much about? it's great to know that if you're liable to be diabetic, for example, then you could do something about your child's diet. but i do think, you know, i mean for this next generation and certainly the generation after, genetic testing will become an absolutely mainstream thing. and that when you have a baby born , you know, that baby's dna sequencing and genomes will be in the cloud. and every doctor or every time that baby goes to the doctor, they'll know all of those things and the likelihoods.
>> some obvious positive benefits of this knowledge, but raises some ethical issues as well?
>> it does raise some ethical issues as well.
>> major ones.
>> obviously for insurance, for medical care . you know, do you want the goth to know that you're liable, you know, to have alzheimer's? all of these things have ethical and moral consequences that haven't really been examined yet. nor have even the medical consequences been examined yet. there are a lot of doctors that advise people not to get their genomes sequenced. there are a lot of doctors think it will increase the cost of health care .
>> wow. you guys have any questions about the cover story ? this is absolutely fascinating.
>> i think there are a lot of ethical questions here. how many stories have we heard of people who were born with what some would consider a challenge or a problem to them, that the general public accepts, yet they go on to achieve unbelievable things .
>> so i hope as we learn these things, and i agree with richard, i think our society's appetite for this kind of stuff is only going to increase. it will be mainstream. but i hope we don't go segmenting and discriminating and putting people on paths and narrowing what people's expectations are.
>> harold, doesn't there need to be a chinese wall between this information that an individual gets privately and why it can be told to the government? what can be told to insurance companies ? what can be told to third parties? i think that's the key. we should not, should we, put a burden on parents who find out about their children to report to insurance companies what they have learned?
>> right. i mean, there have to be privacy, you know, regulations about it. and part of the problem is that our scientific knowledge has advanced farther in testing than it treatment. so we do know about things in advance that we can't necessarily treat. that's -- you terrible bargain in some ways. i do think as treatment catches up, it will coalesce and make sense.
>> that's a terrible bargain. as you said, there are quite a number of things where we can treat them and do other preventative things to reduce the probability of it being a problem later. do you have any sense yet as to how many people want this information? where does it fall in terms of people wanting it or not wanting it?
>> i think that company 23 and me, about 180,000 people have actually had their genomes sequenced either in the full way or through 200 or so. so again, right now it's expensive. it's much less expensive than it was five years ago. it's much more expensive than it will be five years from now. five years from now it might be like getting, you know, a pregnancy test at a pharmacy. five years f rom now. five years from now, it might be like getting a pregnancy test at a pharmacy.
>> i'm reading right now in zakaria's article, a guy that has been fighting oun issues that have mattered most to me, certainly mattered most to me since i've been in government on the debt. he, fareed says, has become the target of many on the left and fareed talks about how it's a strange target for the left to have considering he's been telling republicans for some time today's debt is not the problem, this next generation's debt is and raising taxes is not the problem. you know, growing the economy is.
>> yes, i mean he -- fareed 's point, which is very smart, is that a lot of people on the left have been so wedded to entitlement spending that in fact when pete comes along and says, look, we've got to reduce the deficit and the debt and we have to do it through cutting entitlements, a lot of democrats, and this goes back to your discussion earlier, congressmen who realize, hey, there's no incentive for me to go back to my district and say, hey, medicare is smaller, social security is smaller, medicare is smaller and he says that democrats have to get on the ride side of this. not that reducing the debt is the panacea for all things, but it's a smart column.
>> it may just stop us from going over the cliff. what else do you have in "time" this week?
>> i was in egypt a couple of weeks ago. there's a great story about the muslim brotherhood , the history of the muslim brotherhood . they were formed in 1928 . they've never been in power before. they were an organization that was a revolutionary organization. their leaders were all in prison. what happens when the muslim brotherhood gets into power and we're starting to see that in egypt . i'm cautiously optimistic about them. i find them similar to the guys in the anc. they're willing to be pragmatic in pursuit of their goal. a lot of people on the left think i'm crazy about that.
>> even more people on the right think you're crazy for saying that. but you believe that, though. i do. i was there, i was in egypt last year at this time. i talked to a lot of the brotherhood people. they stand in the case of egypt and even tunisia, their future is being linked to the west that, tourism is the main source of income. they cannot create a sharia law society. nobody will come there. and i think they are actually pretty pragmatic.
>> the new issue of "time" "want to know my future?" thank you very much.
>> and they also have an article on the legalization.
>> i saw that.
>> coming up, chris matthews will join the conversation. more " morning joe " in just a moment.