Can Culture Protect Genetics From Misuse?

Robert W. Sussman, a professor of anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis, says that science has struggled to understand the mysteries of “less-than-human” beings since the late 1400s when the Spanish Inquisition first formalized state persecution of Jews and Muslims.  And while the horrors of Nazi Germany exposed fatal flaws in science’s quest to build the master race, the…

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2012 | Saving Babies?: The Consequences of Newborn Genetic Screening

Congratulations to ISG faculty Stefan Timmermans and Mara Buchbinder on the publication of their book, “Saving Babies?: The Consequences of Newborn Genetic Screening (Fieldwork Encounters and Discoveries)”. Abstract: It has been close to six decades since Watson and Crick discovered the structure of DNA and more than ten years since the human genome was decoded. Today, through the collection and analysis…

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Turkey Trouble: Genetics Gone Too Far?

Regular old selective breeding can create monsters like the industrial turkey, giant with grotesquely over-sized breasts and muscles. This raises the obvious ethical question:  Just because we can breed this turkey, should we?  The turkey lives a short, miserable life but we get an affordable, healthy source of protein. It is obvious which choice we’ve made as a society, but…

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California Boy Ordered To Transfer Schools For Carrying Cystic Fibrosis Gene

Excerpt: Colman Chadam, an 11-year-old California boy, has been ordered to transfer from his current school to another one miles away because of his genetic makeup. Now, his parents are taking the issue to court.  Colman carries the genetic mutations for cystic fibrosis, a noncontagious but incurable and life-threatening disease. Despite the gene’s presence, the Jordan Middle School student in Palo…

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