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30 Man. L.J. 227 (2003-2004)
Genetic Prophecies: The Future of the Canadian Workplace

handle is hein.journals/manitob30 and id is 235 raw text is: Genetic Prophecies:

The Future of the Canadian Workplace
Prominent Harvard biologist Walter Gilbert, a leader of the Human Genome
Initiative, likened the project of mapping the human genome to the quest
for the Holy Grail of human identity.' Yet, if we are to turn back to Arthurian
legend, we should not forget another aspect of the myth: Excalibur, the double-
edged sword of the King, likewise deserves a place in our visions of genetic
advancement. Mapping the human genome marks only the beginning of a new
era in genetic understanding and the genome is now medicine's most powerful
weapon to fight disease.' At the same time, however, these advancements carry
Shauna Labman is a graduate of the University of Victoria Faculty of Law. She is currently
a law clerk at the Federal Court of Appeal.
C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man (New York: Macmillan Company, 1947) at 71.
2   Walter Gilbert, A Vision of the Grail, in Daniel J. Kevles & Leroy Hood eds., The Code of
Codes: Scientific and Social Issues in the Human Genome Project (Cambridge: Harvard
University Press, 1992) at 96.
On 12 February 2001 The New York Times leaked the news that the two competing projects
to sequence the human genome were about to announce on that day that the genome had
been successfully mapped. See Richard Lewontin, It Ain't Necessarily So: The Dream of the
Human Genome and Other Illusions, 2 ed. (New York: New York review Books, 2001) at
4   Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the basic building block of genes. The human genome
refers to the twenty-three pairs of chromosomes that all humans carry and within which all
genes reside. Disease can result from the variation and alteration in the genes, known as
mutations. The Human Genome Project succeeded in mapping the DNA sequences in
the human body. This has helped to identify many genes that cause disease. Scientists are
able to take blood from an individual, identify variations between that person's gene
sequence and a normal gene sequence, and make predictions about that individual's
susceptibility to different diseases or conditions. See George P. Smith, II and Thaddeus J.
Bums, Genetic Determinism Or Genetic Discrimination? (1994) 11 J. Contemp H. L. &

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