University of Bristol
Wellcome Trust
Recommended by:
Society of Biology
PEEP for Physics & Ethics at GCSE

Use of human genetic information

The burden of genetic knowledge.

Would you want to know if you carried the gene that determines whether you will suffer from Huntingdon’s disease, which has its onset late in life, usually after child-bearing years, and is progressively debilitating, both physically and mentally and is invariably terminal?

This is the burden of genetic knowledge and many people choose not to know. For those who do want to find out, there is the question of who else should share the knowledge. Should other members of the family be told? How will they feel about it? What about children too young to give their consent to testing? Should they be tested anyway? What if they would have preferred not to know when they are older?

Activity:  Question:

You are a woman in her twenties and you have a little daughter. Your great-aunt on your mother’s side, and your mother herself both died in their fifties of breast cancer. You are offered a genetic test to see if you have the gene that might predispose you to breast cancer. Do you take the test? Do you have your little girl tested?

  DNA profiling

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Buzz Killington 22-03-13 12:24
Hey Freddie