Describe some of the ways in which your own genetic makeup affects you as a person. Be as specific as you can. Pick one of the following ethical or social issues and give your opinion on this issue. For background information, you might read one of the articles on ethics listed and marked with an asterisk in Suggested Readings at the end of this chapter.

(a) Should a person's genetic makeup be used in determining his or her eligibility for life insurance?

(b) Should biotechnology companies be able to patent newly sequenced genes?

(c) Should gene therapy be used on people?

(d) Should genetic testing be made available for inherited conditions for which there is no treatment or cure?

(e) Should governments outlaw the cloning of people?


Articles on ethical issues in genetics are preceded by an asterisk.

'American Society of Human Genetics Board of Directors and the American College of Medical Genetics Board of Directors. 1995. Points to consider: ethical, legal, pyschosocial implications of genetic testing in children. American Journal of Human Genetics 57:1233-1241.

An official statement on some of the ethical, legal, and psychological considerations in conducting genetic tests on children by two groups of professional geneticists.

Dunn, L. C. 1965. A Short History of Genetics. New York: McGraw-Hill.

An excellent history of major developments in the field of genetics.

*Friedmann, T. 2000. Principles for human gene therapy studies. Science 287:2163-2165.

An editorial that outlines principles that serve as the foundation for clinical gene therapy.

Kottak, C. P. 1994. Anthropology: The Exploration of Human Diversity, 6th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill. Contains a summary of the rise of agriculture and initial domestication of plants and animals.

Lander, E. S., and R. A. Weinberg. 2000. Genomics: journey to the center of biology. Science 287:1777-1782. A succinct history of genetics and, more specifically, genomics written by two of the leaders of modern genetics.

McKusick, V. A. 1965. The royal hemophilia. Scientific American 213(2):88-95.

Contains a history of hemophilia in Queen Victoria's descendants.

Massie, R. K. 1967. Nicholas and Alexandra. New York: Atheneum.

One of the classic histories of Tsar Nicholas and his family. Massie, R. K. 1995. The Romanovs: The Final Chapter. New York: Random House.

Contains information about the finding of the Romanov remains and the DNA testing that verified the identity of the skeletons.

* Rosenberg, K., B. Fuller, M. Rothstein, T. Duster, et al. 1997. Genetic information and workplace: legislative approaches and policy challenges. Science 275:1755-1757.

Deals with the use of genetic information in employment. *Shapiro, H. T. 1997. Ethical and policy issues of human cloning. Science 277:195-196.

Discussion of the ethics of human cloning. Stubbe, H. 1972. History of Genetics: From Prehistoric Times to the Rediscovery of Mendel's Laws. Translated by T. R. W. Waters. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

A good history of genetics, especially for pre-Mendelian genetics. Sturtevant, A. H. 1965. A History of Genetics. New York: Harper and Row.

An excellent history of genetics.

*Verma, I. M., and N. Somia. 1997. Gene therapy: promises, problems, and prospects. Nature 389:239-242.

An update on the status of gene therapy.

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