Gene genie

THE discovery of a possible genetic link between obesity and skin cancer may turn out to be a major medical breakthrough.

It should certainly be a matter of regional pride that it as a result of work by scientists at Leeds University that new drug treatment for malignant melanoma may now be developed. But the research also opens up the possibility that obesity may be linked with other diseases.

Indeed, the only drawback is that patients will now develop a false fatalism. After all, many will wonder, if obesity is a product of genes, then why worry about sticking to a careful diet? And if skin cancer is also genetic, are not all 
those warnings about staying indoors rather pointless?

The answer, of course, is no. Eating healthily and taking proper precautions in the sun are always advisable regardless of the onward march of science. No medical breakthrough can ever replace the need for personal responsibility – at least until a gene is discovered which governs that.