New York Times, May 17, 2018
Heather Murphy

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Will you be my emergency contact?

When you’re dating, the question is a sign that you’ve made it to the this-is-really-serious category. When you’re friends, it’s a sign that you’re truly beloved or truly responsible. And if you’re related, it may mean that you will now be entered into a medical study together so scientists can figure out if sinus infections or anxiety run in your family.

What? That’s right. Researchers have begun experimenting with using emergency contacts gathered from medical records to build family trees that can be used to study the heritability of hundreds of different attributes, and possibly advance research into diseases and responses to medications. [...]

bioethics genetics public health regulation research