back to article UK gov backs Trading Places DNA study

Government-backed sociologists are aiming to pin economic status, crime and beliefs on our genes in a new £15m survey of 100,000 Britons. The "UK Household Longitudinal Study" will replace and expand on the DNA analysis-free British Household Panel Survey, which began in 1991. Each year the Panel Survey has interviewed a …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Economic and Social Research Council.

    Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust

    I don't like the sound of either of those.

    Images of guys in gasmasks and black clad body armour along with a man in a lab coat knocking on your door in a dystopian future

    "We're from ESRC our records indicate that you will suffer froma case of "unhappiness" we are taking you to our happiness education facility. Please don't resist."

  2. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    Of course...

    It would be cynical of me to suggest that this is just another attempt to soften people up for the idea of the National DNA Database.

    They will, of course, guarantee that any DNA supplied to this study and any information gained from it won't become part of the National DNA Database...

    ... won't they?

  3. system

    Privacy concerns

    The most pressing concern is "how clearly people are informed that their involvement in this study is voluntary"?

    Just think of the wonderful new applications, such as justifying the existance of the national DNA database. Police will no longer be limited to reaction, but will be able to launch pre-emptive strikes just like politicians.

    Dawn raids to pick up every potential murderer and rapist, advanced shooting of all those flagged as extremist muslims, undeniable genetic proof that T.B took cash for honours (testing of OBE winners to reveal they aren't really of the right "status"). How happy the boys in blue will be!

    Of course, with all these new arrests and prison overcrowding, the government shall be forced to build new prisons quickly. Wooden huts can be knocked up very quickly. Throw in some barbed wire and some machine gun towers for the authentic concentration camp feel and we're sorted.

    When the camps are full of potential murderers, perhaps we can issue "special" I.D. cards to the remaining potential shoplifters. If HM Gov gets any bad press about it all, we can always invade Poland.

  4. Stu Pid
    Paris Hilton

    Jedi Knight

    It's NOT recognised as a religion and it never will be.

    The Church of Paris Hilton will be recognised one day soon though.

  5. Tawakalna
    Paris Hilton

    oh lord no..

    back when I was kid, I used to read about these dystopian societies in Philip K. Dick, 1984, Brave New world, 2000AD, and the like, and I thought that they could never come about, people would never tolerate it.

    How wrong I was :( it became a reality and no-one noticed until it was too late.

    Oddly enough I got a Biobank letter (odd because I work for the firm that prints the things and I didn't see <my> name in the data) but there's no way I'm going to be interfered with then my personal data kept by Pa Broon's neo-Stalinist bunglers.

    looks like I'll have to take Paris up on that offer to look after her last 800million then....

  6. Anonymous Coward


    When can we expect the details of this study on a couple of DVDs at e-bay?

  7. Enno

    ulterior motives?

    Not wanting to sound like the tinfoil hat brigade... but I seem to recall an article in New Scientist in the last year or so that suggested that as few as 25k-30k DNA samples taken from a (say longitudinal?) cross section of the UK could allow the police to zone in on family and together with a few other forensics clues allow them to essentially identify anyone from a crime scene, without actually needing a sample of that person's DNA. (i.e. because the uk has been a mostly closed genetic pool for thousands of years they can leverage that.) So who was paying for this study and what limits were being placed on the information? Yes. Thats what I thought.

    On a lighter note... its been 2008 for a couple of hours down here already... Happy New Year everyone.


  8. Lee

    When will we learn? Another survey...

    So the U.K government is unable to close the gap between the rich and the poor. What does it do? It sponsors a survey that WILL show that people are rich or poor because they are genetically predispositioned to it hence the government is absolved of blame, the class system may be re-instated and the rich may be elevated in class. Why can't they understand that most people are either happy with their lot or reticent to change their lot. Provided there are no actual barriers to change and people are encouraged to change then people will change should they wish to change. Besides, if the government really wanted to shorten the wealth gap it should quit wasting billions on surveys, committees, bureaucracy etc.. and give those billions to the financially poor.

    Have a prosperous 2008 everybody.

  9. Hud Dunlap

    favour of more sophisticated statistical sampling

    Yeah I love that line. Actually Clinton tried to use this rather than what is required under the Constitution. Anytime a prominent politician like Clinton wants to use a new technique you can be sure he wants to manipulate the data.

    Actually the US does ask more than a few simple questions but that is a statistical sample.

    My Father worked on the Census twice and he has some interesting stories to tell. There is a reason why it is not considerd that accurate. But the pol's won't tell you the real reasons.

    From Statistics 101 the smaller the sample size the bigger the error.

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