Ethical problems raised by scientific advances in genetic research. The discovery of the structure of DNA may have the most far-reaching consequences of any of the last century’s amazing scientific advances. As geneticists unlock the DNA code, they learn how differences in the DNA that makes up particular genes are linked to variations in physical traits, from organism’s size to its resistance or susceptibility to disease. While there’s no doubt that genetic engineering holds tremendous promise for alleviating human suffering, what are the risks?
This programme looks at some of the problem areas: loss of privacy unless access to personal genetic information is protected; discrimination in employment and insurance based on genetic tests; and loss of respect for people with disabilities as the public comes to view certain inherited conditions as ‘avoidable’ and some people call for restricting the reproductive rights of those who are genetically ‘flawed’. Good discussion starter. Raises the important questions of how much money should be devoted to genetic research when we know that money spent on nutrition and the environment can produce immediate tangible results, and to what extent should we intervene in the basic workings of nature? U.S.A.