At risk—or at peace?

Contemporary life would seem fraught with risk, at least that's the picture so often conveyed today. Certainly some of the current technology and scientific research is being devoted to a kind of sophisticated, high-tech risk management.

One new field of investigation, aimed at reducing dangers to people's health, is called ecogenetics. Researchers expect to be able to measure and predict how people would react differently—on the basis of genetic predisposition—to chemicals, drugs, infectious organisms, and other environmental influences. People classified as risk-prone to certain substances might then be kept out of some types of employment or work environments. Other individuals could be forewarned about the possibility of developing a disease or illness from contact with their surroundings.

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