|Do You Own Your DNA?|
|Post by Jeff Snow|
|Monday, 15 February 2010 17:53|
In 1990 a California Supreme Court decision ruled that cells are biological waste once they leave the body- and that includes your DNA. A 31-year old mother of five, diagosed with a malignant tumor of the cervix in 1951, is the subject of a new book, "The Immortal LIfe of Henrietta Lacks" that explores this very issue.
Henrietta died from cervical cancer in 1951. Without her knowledge, her doctor had removed a piece of her tumor for research purposes.
Her particular cancer cells behaved differently from other people's cells and multiplied indefinitely as long as they were given a few nutrients. They provided scientists a gold mine of cells for experimentaiton.
Her cells, named Hela, have been used to make countless research discoveries. From the original cells, over 800 billion have been produced.
Her family learned about the use of their mother's cells 24 years after her death.