Want to know when you’re going to die? Your life span is written in your DNA, and we’re learning to read the code.
So far, science has been no more accurate at predicting life span than a $10 fortune teller. But that’s starting to change. The measures being developed will never get good enough to forecast an exact date or time of death, but insurance companies are already finding them useful, as are hospitals and palliative care teams. “I would love to know when I’m going to die,” says Brian Chen, a researcher who is chief science officer for Life Epigenetics, a company that services the insurance industry. “That would influence how I approach life.”
The work still needs to be made more practical, and companies have to figure out the best uses for the data. Ethicists, meanwhile, worry about how people will cope with knowing the final secret of life. But like it or not, the death predictor is coming.
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