The notoriety of the Tuskegee syphilis study is unparalleled in the field of bioethics. Last week marked the 42nd anniversary of the horrific experiment's termination, and many people took the opportunity to recall Tuskegee and examine its relevance to the treatment of human research subjects today.
Unlike treating a disease with a known cause and having the ability to select a therapy that cures that disease, orthodontics is limited to managing the irregularity of teeth. In simple terms, we orthodontists are able to straighten your teeth, but we really have little idea how or why they went crooked in the first place.
Like Henrietta Lacks' family, millions of us will soon confront questions about our genomes. We should learn as much as we can, and plan more carefully now, before it is too late. Our genomic data may reveal aspects of our fate, but we can still potentially control how and when the information is used.