As biomedicine advances, are we clear on the implications?

The future will yield new ways to edit genes, customize therapies, and defeat disease. But we must think critically about using them.

When we asked veteran journalist Fran Smith to write about new frontiers in medicine for this month’s issue, the first thing she did was volunteer to be, in her words, “a research guinea pig.” She got her genome sequenced.

Smith didn’t hesitate. After all, she told me, she’s never understood some people’s skittishness about medical testing and learning what may—or may not—loom in their health future.

“You’re not safer if you don’t know,” she says, sensibly enough. “And you can find out things that are very useful and that you can do something about.”

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