Celebrity fans can be passionate and almost insane at times, and now there’s concern that infatuation could become more obsessive and even sinister.
Experts are now warning of ‘genetic paparazzi’ and the potential rise in ‘celebrity DNA theft’. Yes, that’s right, actual DNA theft.
Law professors at Georgia State University and the University of Maryland are now arguing that “genetic paparazzi” may soon be after the DNA of public figures, including celebrities and politicians.
A Georgia State University blog post states: “Imagine being able to conceive a child with your favorite movie star using DNA from a strand of hair or a dander of skin. What sounds like the plot of a sci-fi thriller is actually not that far from reality.”
If this happens, not only could it be devastating, but there may be no legal ramifications.
With science and genetics evolving rapidly, court systems (particularly in the US) remain ill-equipped to deal with the fallout of celebrity DNA theft. This could theoretically lead to enormously murky waters in terms of the consequences for those who steal DNA. That could throw the legal system into chaos, they argue — which could be bad news not just for celebrities but for the general public as well. And it probably won’t change either.
Law professors argued in their essay for The Conversation: “It is very unlikely that the US Supreme Court would recognize new rights, or even confirm previously recognized rights, that are not specifically mentioned in the Constitution. Hence, at least at the federal level, individual protection because genetic material and information are not likely to adapt to the changing times.”
When bizarre celebrity items like chewing gum and half-eaten food end up on eBay after a celebrity touches them, DNA theft could well occur, experts say. These items contain genetic DNA and could therefore technically be used if someone wanted to use them to steal DNA.
Celebrities are apparently already aware of this and have taken action. Pop star Madonna has reportedly been “DNA-paranoid” for the past decade and orders her dressing rooms and areas to be fully sterilized after use, leaving no trace.
Researchers wrote, “When disputes over genetic theft from public figures inevitably reach the courtroom, judges must grapple with fundamental questions about how genetics relates to personality and identity, property, health and disease, intellectual property, and reproductive rights.”