In 2007, Misha Angrist became the fourth subject in the Personal Genome Project, George Church's ambitious plan to sequence the entire genomic catalog: every participant's twenty thousand-plus genes and the rest of his or her six billion base pairs. Unlocking the secrets of our genomes opens the door to understanding why we are the way we are and potentially fixing what ails us, from cancer and diabetes to obesity and male pattern baldness. But what exactly will happen to this information? Will it be a boon or just another marketing tool?
Here Is a Human Being is the first in-depth look at personal genomics--its larger-than-life research subjects; its entrepreneurs and do-it-yourselfers; its technology developers; and the bewildered physicians and regulators who must negotiate with it--and what it means to be a "public genome" in a world where privacy is already under siege.