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  1. 1. A HISTORICAL VIEW OF SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IN GENETICS Title: “A Historical View of Social Responsibility in Genetics. Author(s): Beckwith, Jon Source: Bioscience; May93, Vol. 43 Issue 5, p327, 7p In the fictional Jurassic Park (Crichton funds for the project would go to 1991), mischievous genetic engineers let addressing the ethical, legal, and social loose breeds of dinosaurs that might implications of the research (Beckwith wreak havoc on the world. Partly 1991). Organizations of scientists such through the efforts of other scientists, as Science for the People, the Council for the damage is limited to a small region Responsible Genetics, and the Union of of the globe and eventually the animals Concerned Scientists have challenged an are eliminated. The image of the array of uses of science and technology scientist who carries out ill-considered that were considered to have potentially experiments, often with claims for harmful results. These activities are benefits to humanity, is one of the most important because it is often the common representations of scientists in scientists who may be better able to film and fiction. anticipate problems and to help the public understand technical aspects of Less common is the image of the socially the research. responsible scientist who takes action to prevent damaging results of scientific But this undercurrent of responsibility is discoveries. However, particularly since thin. The majority of scientists continue the development of atomic weapons, a their scientific research careers with thin but fragile undercurrent has been little regard for the potentially harmful running through the scientific consequences of their own work or of community arguing that scientists must work in their field. Or worse, they may take responsibility for the social contribute (unwittingly or not) to the consequences of scientific research, potential for harm through their own whether their own or others'. public statements or participation in public discussion. Scientists were among the most vocal spokespersons asking for bans or Today, as reflected in Jurassic Park and restrictions on nuclear weapons in the other works of science fiction, the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1970s, a group science of genetics most prominently of molecular biologists called presents society with a double-edged successfully for a moratorium on sword. Fortunately, there is the recombinant DNA research until the opportunity for geneticists to become potential health hazards were addressed. sensitized to these problems through a In the late 1980s, James Watson, in study of a time past when genetic initiating the Human Genome Project, science played a large social role. announced that several percent of the
  2. 2. With regard to genetics, there are Grant, author of the popular eugenics striking parallels between conditions book The Passing of the Great Race today and in the early part of this (1916), and Robert DeCourcy Ward, a century in the United States. In both leader of the Immigration Restriction periods, dramatic breakthroughs League, used the new concepts of generated highly productive periods in genetics to support their claims for the genetics research. In 1900, the inferiority of certain ethnic groups and rediscovery of Mendel's laws opened up of the lower social classes. But, more the field of genetics as we now know it. important for our purposes, many of the Today, we see an era in which technical leading geneticists supported the developments ranging from eugenicists or even became active in the recombinant DNA to DNA sequencing to enterprise. According to Kenneth the polymerase chain reaction have Ludmerer (1972), in the early days produced a revolution in the ease with (1906-1915) of this movement most of which genetic problems can be the leading geneticists were seduced by addressed. In the early 1900s, the new or promoted eugenic theory. era in genetics was accompanied by a powerful eugenics movement that For instance, every member of the first influenced social policy. Today, the editorial board of the journal Genetics increasing focus on genetics both within (founded in 1916)--Thomas Hunt biology and in the media is beginning to Morgan, William E. Castle, Edward M. shift public attention to genetic East, Herbert S. Jennings and Raymond explanations and genetic solutions to Pearl--gave support to the eugenics health problems and social problems. movement. Pearl stated, "I doubt if there is any other line of thought or From an examination of this history, we endeavor on which common can learn much about the role of international discussion and action can scientists' participation in work with be so well and so profitably brought socially harmful effects. We can also about as with eugenics" (author's explore how science is transmitted to the emphasis) Michael Guyer (a confirmer public and the responses of scientists to of Mendelian theory) worried that "our potential or actual harm resulting from very civilization hangs on the issue" work in their field. (Ludmerer 1972, p.35). East (who ultimately showed that many traits were The eugenics movement in the determined by multiple genes) felt that United States without eugenics "man's troubles will speedily multiply as they never have In the early 1900s, the burgeoning field before" (Ludmerer 1972, p.37). of genetics was quickly incorporated into Textbooks in genetics, written by the eugenics movement (Chase 1977, eminent geneticists such as Harvard's Kevles 1985, Ludmerer 1972). The Castle, included sections on eugenics. origins of this movement are complex, Either straight eugenics courses or evolving in part from a cattle breeding courses that included sections on association and led by a number of men eugenics were taught in three-quarters from the upper social classes. of all colleges and universities in the Prominent aristocratic figures in the country (Allen 1975, Ludmerer 1972). eugenics movement such as Madison
  3. 3. Yet, the new so-called science of However, it is unlikely that the nature of eugenics, was, in retrospect at least, the science alone explains the based on shoddy and primitive scientific prevalence of eugenics ideology among analysis. For instance, Charles geneticists. The leading geneticists of Davenport, who had done impressive this period came mainly from the upper scientific work in showing that social classes, descendants of early Huntington's Disease was inherited as a American ancestors (Ludmerer 1972). dominant Mendelian trait, also argued At a time of considerable social turmoil, that social phenomena such as labor strife, and major immigration criminality, poverty, intelligence, and movements, explanations for social even seafaringness could be attributed phenomena that took away the to single genes (Ludmerer 1972). These responsibility for problems from those conclusions were often based on nothing governing the society and attributed more than crude family studies or them to the genetic defects of population-based use of IQ tests. Even individuals or groups must have been less evidence was used to argue that soothing to those in the upper echelons reproductive intermingling of different of society. Rather than having to racial and ethnic groups would lead to surrender any privilege, this class could inferior progeny (Provine 1973). look on eugenics as a solution. Why did so many scientists promote However, this analysis cannot explain all eugenic theories, given the weakness of the various strands of the eugenics and the underlying science? Perhaps if we anti-immigration movement. At various can understand this phenomenon, we points, these movements included major will be better prepared to anticipate and figures in the labor movement and avoid such trends today. The early days socialists such as Margaret Sanger. of genetics were a series of successes Furthermore, eugenics ideology was where one after the other simple trait strong among socialists in both was shown to follow Mendel's laws of Germany and the Soviet Union (the inheritance. From Mendel's pea plants latter until Lysenkoism took power; to traits of the fruit fly Drosophila to Graham 1977). human metabolic disorders such as alkaptonuria, the concept of single-gene At any rate, this combination of a social determinants appeared to hold sway. movement and an apparently scientific This unquestionably powerful new base allowed the eugenicists to have analytic tool may have generated an significant social impact (Allen 1975, overweening confidence among Chase 1977, Kevles 1985, Ludmerer geneticists that led them to imagine that 1972). The push for eugenics programs the same approaches could be used to played a role in both state and federal explain more complex human traits. legislation that affected people's lives. A Simplification and reduction are natural majority of states passed laws that tendencies within science. The allowed sterilization for low intelligence, attraction of theories that are all- certain kinds of criminality, and other explanatory is often too much to characteristics. These laws were based withstand. on the claims of eugenicists that these traits were genetically determined. Many states also passed miscegenation
  4. 4. laws forbidding marriage between universities, various sectors of society individuals of different races, based on were exposed to eugenics science and flawed scientific theories of the theories (Allen 1975). The inferiority of hybrid races. Finally, the communication of these theories was United States Congress passed the spread even more widely by its Immigration Restriction Act of 1924, appearance in the popular magazines of which dramatically reduced the number the day. Articles with titles such as of people allowed in the country from "Decadence of human heredity" in the Southern and Eastern Europe and from Atlantic Magazine in 1914, (vol. 114, other cultures considered inferior. p.302) ,"Plain remarks on immigration Although the factors leading to the for plain Americans" in the Saturday passage of this bill were many, Evening Post in 1921 (Chase 1977, eugenicists played a significant role in p.255), and " Danger that world scum mustering support for it. will demoralize America" in the Boston Herald in 1921 (Chase 1977, p. 173) An important key in generating the helped to strengthen eugenic attitudes atmosphere in which such legislation among the public. became possible was the development of popular attitudes toward the issues An examination of Popular Science eugenicists were promoting. These Monthly, edited by respected attitudes are often fostered by the psychologist James McKeen Cattell, popular press and by other societal from the years 1913 and 1915 institutions. The eugenics movement demonstrates the influence of presented its views to the public in many eugenicists on popular culture. The ways. From the presentation of eugenic following articles all reflected the displays at county and state fairs to the position of the eugenics movement of teaching of eugenics in colleges and that time: "Going through Ellis Island" (describing "Immigration and the public health" the characteristics of various immigrant (83: 313-338) groups; 82: 5-18) "A problem in educational eugenics" "A study in Jewish psychopathology" (83: 355-367) (82: 264-271) "Economic factors in eugenics" (83: "Heredity and the Hall of Fame" (82: 471-483) 445-482) "The racial element in national vitality" "The biological status and social worth (86: 331-333) of the mulatto" (82: 573-582) "Eugenics and war: the dysgenic effects "Heredity, culpability, praiseworthiness, of war" (86: 417-427) punishment and reward" (83: 33-39) "Families of American men of science" "Eugenics with special reference to (86: 504-515) intellect and character" (83: 125-138)
  5. 5. "Biological effects of race movements" even though they recognized the harm (87: 267-270) that was being done. They rarely spoke out against these policies, and, by the A few examples from these articles gives time they did, it was essentially too late a sense of this "popular science." A (Allen 1975, Ludmerer 1972). For report on "Jewish psychopathology" instance, East, Castle, and Jennings argues that "Jews are a highly inbred began to criticize the eugenically based and psychopathically inclined race" (vol. Immigration Restriction Act and the 82, p. 265) and that "Among the frankly arguments that had been put forth for feeble-minded, the Jews stand next to many years only at about the time the the top of the list of those immigrants act was being passed by Congress. who are deported on that account" (p. 269). David Starr Jordan, evolutionist The studies and proclamations of the US and president of Stanford University, in eugenicists were also closely followed in "Biological effects of race movements," Germany in the 1920s and 1930s. The spoke of the "lower races" that were perhaps most widely used text in human immigrating into the United States from genetics during this period was by the Europe and Asia and lowering "our own prominent German geneticists Fritz average" (vol. 87, p. 270). H. E. Jordan Lenz and Erwin Baur and German of the University of Virginia in "The anthropologist Eugen Fischer (Baur et biological status and social worth of the al. 1931). This book, which used data mulatto" cites geneticists Davenport and and conclusions from US mental testers Karl Pearson in concluding that "negro such as L. Terman and E. L. Thorndike traits (e.g. cheerful temperament, vivid and US eugenicists such as Davenport, imagination...) are of the nature of unit was a eugenics and biological characters [i.e., Mendelian traits]" (vol. determinist text. It contained 82, p. 580). characterizations of races and ethnic groups as exhibiting certain genetically Thus, the evolution of the eugenics based personality traits: movement proceeded from academic theorizing and academic "Fraud and the use of insulting language pronouncements, to their translation to are commoner among Jews" (p. 681) the public via the media and other institutions, and, finally, with the "In general, a Negro is not inclined to appropriate public attitudes generated, work hard..."(p.628) to the formulation of social policy. Eugenicists and psychologists active in [T]he Mongolian character...inclines to the mental testing movement were well petrifaction in the traditional" (p. 636) mobilized for these political activities. "The Russians excel in suffering and in By the time the eugenics movement had endurance..." (p.639) reached its peak, many of the geneticists had withdrawn their backing. This "[I]n respect of mental gifts the Nordic falling off of scientific support, however, race marches in the van of mankind" (p. had little effect on the implementation 655) of eugenics policies. Geneticists generally stayed away from the fray,
  6. 6. Members of the German "Racial 1939 statement), criticized the concept Hygiene" movement pointed to the laws of race and argued that differences in and influence of the US eugenics culture, intellectual achievement, and movement as support for their positions behavior between ethnic groups were (Muller-Hill 1988, Proctor 1988, not genetic in origin (Montagu 1963). Waldinger 1973). As in the United States, many scientists were ardent However, beginning in the late 1960s, supporters of these policies (Muller-Hill scientific arguments for a genetic basis 1988). for various behavioral traits began to attract increasing attention. One of the With the extreme misuse of genetics by earliest and most dramatic of such German scientists and finally the Nazi claims was the proposal that males with government, some English and US an extra Y chromosome (XYY males) are geneticists began to speak out more more aggressive than the average male openly. At the seventh International (Jacobs et al. 1965) and exhibit a Congress of Genetics in 1939, a number susceptibility to lead criminal lives of geneticists issued a manifesto (Price and Whatmore 1967). Despite the criticizing eugenic programs (Crew et al. weakness of the initial evidence, the 1939). Among the signers were J. B. S. myth of the "criminal chromosome" took Haldane, J. S. Huxley, H. J. Muller, T. hold of the public imagination (Pyeritz Dobzhansky, and A. G. Steinberg, et al. 1977). Within a few years of the several of whom, although they still held first findings, it became clear that XYY eugenics views themselves, were males were neither hyperaggressive nor appalled by the implementation of doomed to lives of criminality (Bender et eugenics in Germany. For the most part, al. 1984, Borgaonkar and Shah 1974, the opposition of geneticists to the Theilgaard 1983, Witkin et al. 1976; see misapplication of their field was too most recently Evans et al. 1991). But by little and too late, and it had a minimal the time these conclusions were reached, effect. the XYY myth was already being presented as fact in everything from Recent history high school biology texts to medical school psychiatry texts. The universal revulsion at the Nazi eugenics policies after World War II led There followed other controversial to a rejection of many of the general claims of evidence for a genetic basis for claims of the eugenics movement. In black-white differences in performance particular, the position that human on IQ tests (Jensen 1969), for boy-girl behavioral traits and social problems differences in performance on had their origins in genetics was mathematical examinations (Benbow replaced by the position that and Stanley 1980), and for a host of environment was the determining factor human behavioral traits including male in such issues. Some of these positions dominance, xenophobia, religiosity, and are reflected in two statements issued by shyness (Bouchard et al. 1990, Wilson UNESCO in the early 1950s. One of 1975). The XYY research was carried out these, prepared by leading physical for the most part by geneticists, but the anthropologists and geneticists (several remaining studies were the work of of them from the group that wrote the psychologists or students of animal
  7. 7. behavior. Thus, there was little transformation of biology has been a involvement of the genetics community strengthening of an extreme reductionist in the resurgence of interest in genetic position toward both the science itself explanations of human social behavior and its social applications. As with the and aptitudes. period that initiated genetics at the turn of the century, the successes of the The recombinant DNA era and science have been translated into a the Human Genome Project world view. First, some molecular biologists have implied that essentially Although it is possible that the all biological problems are best molecular biology of the 1950s and approached by studying genes. For 1960s generated an environment in instance, according to Walter Gilbert which reductionist approaches to a wide (1991), "To identify a relevant region of range of problems seemed appropriate, DNA, a gene, and then to clone and the breakthroughs in genetics in the sequence it is now the underpinning of 1970s have even more clearly created all biological science." such an environment. The improvements in DNA sequencing Second, many leaders of the revolution techniques, the development of in molecular biology have publicly recombinant DNA approaches to gene claimed a nearly all-explanatory role for cloning and manipulation, and a host of genetics. Many of these claims have further advances have made simpler the been associated with the initiation of the genetic approaches to biological Human Genome Project. James Watson problems in any organism, including was quoted in Time magazine, "We used humans. The successes in biology based to think our fate was in our stars. Now on this progress have been we know, in large measure, our fate is in extraordinary. A partial list of such our genes" (Jaroff 1989, p. 67). Norton achievements include mapping and Zinder calls the human genome characterization of genes involved in sequence a "Rosetta Stone" (Hall 1990, numerous genetic diseases, working out p. 42), whereas Walter Gilbert termed it of developmental pathways at the the "Holy Grail of genetics" (Hall 1990, genetic level in several organisms, p. 42). Gilbert also stated that from the refinement of evolutionary trees based sequence "we can have the ultimate on DNA sequence homology, and an explanation for a human being" extraordinary increase in the (DelGuercio 1987). understanding of the development and functioning of the immune system. Robert Sinsheimer says that the sequence is what "defines a human As a result of the technological being" (Hall 1988, p. 64). Charles breakthroughs, biology's focus has DeLisi entitled a subsection of his article shifted dramatically to the analysis of on the Human Genome Project "The genes. This shift has been blue print for life" (DeLisi 1988). Paul extraordinarily productive and exciting. Berg stated at a recent Stanford The reductionist approach of focusing conference, "Many if not most human on genes has worked for a host of diseases are clearly the result of previously intractable biological inherited mutations" (Berg 1991). problems. However, accompanying this Frances Collins suggests that "[The
  8. 8. Human Genome Initiative] will likely There are many complex basic and transform medicine in the 21st century applied problems that require into a preventive mode, where genetic approaches other than genetics. predispositions are identified and Although the improvement in genetic treated before the onset of illness rather techniques has occurred at an incredibly than after illness is under way" (Collins rapid pace, comparable improvement in 1991). techniques of cell biology have been neglected. The greatest rewards in In an editorial in Science magazine and biology today come for those working in elsewhere, Daniel Koshland argued that the areas of DNA and gene the Human Genome Project will provide manipulation. solutions to many of our social problems, including homelessness The devaluing of descriptive biological (Koshland 1989). "The homeless work and of technical innovations in problem is tractable. One third of such areas as electron microscopy could homeless are mentally ill--some say ultimately lead to a drying up of the 50%. These are the ones who will most source of the very information that is benefit from the Genome Project" needed to make sense of genetic studies (Koshland 1991). Koshland's rationale is or even to stimulate new areas of genetic that mental illness has a genetic basis research. The training of students in the and that finding the postulated genes for latest technological developments to the mental illness will allow cures to be detriment of broader biological training developed. could also contribute to an impoverishment of the field. Molecular These attitudes toward the future of biologists should not be blinded by the biology and its relevance to social dazzling successes of genetics to the problems reflects, as Levins and balance in approaches that are required Lewontin have put it, "the confusion of for future progress. reduction as a tactic with reductionism as an ontological stance" (Levins and The translation of the reductionist Lewontin 1985). That is, the remarkable approach to an analysis of everything successes of genetics in approaching a from human health to the human number of biological and medical condition is also problematic. The problems have been translated into a arguments about health are based, in view in which genetics is the strategy of part, on the finding that some instances choice in biology and the explanatory of susceptibility to common diseases framework for society's medical and such as heart disease or cancer are social problems. But the movement correlated with the inheritance of an within biology to concentrate on genes altered gene. It is likely that more such as the basis of all biological studies is a instances will be found. However, such myopic view of the field. The questions findings do not imply that most cancer we study in biology arise in many or most heart disease is related to such different ways. Some come from the susceptibility genes. Further, in those discovery of new genes, but many others cases where there is a susceptibility, it is are only made possible because of years usually only a susceptibility. The actual of descriptive work. development of cancer will be due to many factors, including other genes and
  9. 9. the environment. It is not at all clear be discovered; but this evidence does that the best way to approach cures or not mean that all manic depressive prevention of cancer is a study of a illness can be traced to genes and cancer gene, as opposed to systematic certainly not that all depression has a analysis of environmental factors and genetic basis. Furthermore, even in the many other approaches that are those cases where there is substantial currently employed in studying this evidence for manic depressive illness problem. having a genetic correlate in certain families, it is clear that not everyone This area is full of uncertainty. There who inherits the susceptibility develops are few examples that would give us the disorder. It seems likely that confidence that gene characterization environmental factors are also will lead to solutions to health problems. important and should be explored in For instance, researchers have considering how to deal with the understood the molecular basis of disorder. sickle-cell anemia in terms of the amino acid change in the hemoglobin protein Third, the fact that a gene plays a role in for more than three decades (Ingram a particular disease does not necessarily 1957), but it has been continuing imply that genetics will provide medical studies on the progress of the solutions. As discussed above, although disease rather than genetic knowledge finding a gene for a particular condition that has contributed to the significant will certainly promote better improvements there have been in understanding of that condition, there is survival and health of those suffering no certainty that cures or treatments will from the condition (Kolata 1987). It is be generated. Finally, the recent only quite recently that the molecular molecular genetic searches for genes genetic studies have begun to bear fruit related to such conditions as manic in this area (Leery 1993). depressive illness, schizophrenia, and alcoholism have suffered from much of Of even more concern are the claims the same hastiness and overconfidence concerning genetics and social problems that characterized the behavior genetics such as homelessness (Koshland 1989). of the eugenics era (Barnes 1989, Baron It is useful to analyze the content of such et al. 1990, Billings et al. 1992). claims. First, a social problem is Fortunately, molecular genetic studies relegated to the realm of medicine or are more easily replicable, and, as a biology when the roots are often in result, mistaken conclusions have been failings of the society itself. Clearly, rapidly picked up. The problems with some of the homeless do have severe the current attempts to discover genes mental problems, but much for these complex behavioral traits has homelessness has its roots in economic led to suggestions that the search will be deprivation. Second, the reliance on long and arduous and to restoring of genetics to account for mental disorders some balance in examining genetic and exaggerates and distorts what we know. environmental contributors. There is relatively convincing evidence that, for example, some cases of manic Consequences of biological depressive illness have a heritable determinist attitudes component, although a gene has yet to
  10. 10. In the last 15 years, the public has not contributors to this field, referred to the only witnessed an explosion of genetic mapping of genes for Huntington's information but also has been deluged disease ( Gusella et al. 1983) and manic with reports of the discovery of genes for depressive illness (Egeland et al. 1987) everything from cystic fibrosis to as a refutation of the critics of alcoholism. These are exciting times, sociobiology. (The report of the and the publicity for the achievements of mapping of the manic-depressive-illness genetics is warranted. But, what kind of gene was later retracted; Kelsoe et al. environment is now being generated by 1989.) These discoveries were seen by the publicity that genetics has achieved Konner as showing that human behavior with the grandiose claims that was strongly influenced by genes, and accompany it? One effect of this thus, by inference, providing greater publicity has been to promote the support for sociobiological theories of conception that genetics is all- human behavior. explanatory. Reductionist statements from scientists of the sort quoted above The reawakened interest in issues of only reinforce a distorted perception of genetics, human behaviors, and social the basis of the human condition. Genes policy is also reflected in the resurgence are used in the popular media more and of academic controversy over arguments more to explain social phenomena. that blacks are genetically inferior to Everything from the attitudes of TV whites in intelligence (Allen 1992, critics (Stewart 1991) to the basis of Anderson 1990, Holden 1991, Kaufman violence among soccer fans in Great 1992, Maddox 1992, Palca 1989, Selvin Britain (Lehmann Haupt 1992) to 1991a,b). It may be that the presidential candidate Ross Perot's reappearance of this controversy is frugality (Wright 1992) are ascribed to facilitated by the climate in which genes. As in the early part of this genetics is made to appear more and century, the media is serving as a means more important. Of course, racism is of transmission of the perspective of not generated by genetics, and an scientists and, thus, helping form public important source of the renewed interest opinion that can influence social policy. in these issues arises out of the political climate, including the debate over It may be that the increased attention to affirmative action. But, historically, genetics in society will give greater arguments from the scientific courage to those who argue that our community have provided important social problems and social inequities are support for racist ideology and political genetic in origin. For example, recent action. reports of gene discoveries have been used to support the arguments made by Overall, then, overextension of the proponents of human sociobiology in applications of genetics can have the 1970s. A number of sociobiologists profound effects on society. In general, received considerable public attention the focus on genetics alone as for their suggestions that such social explanatory of disease and of social characteristics as xenophobia, male problems tends to direct society's dominance, and class structure were attention away from other means of genetically based. In 1988, Melvin dealing with such problems. At its Konner (Konner 1988), one of the extreme, a false hope of cures for disease
  11. 11. distorts the distribution of resources. part of the twentieth century, geneticists Genetic explanations for intelligence, played a significant role. But even sex role differences, or aggression lead geneticists who are not committed to a to an absolving of society of any public role in influencing social policy responsibility for its inequities, thus may still contribute to the potential providing support for those who have repercussions by their public interest in maintaining these inequities. statements. They can influence the development of social policy in such areas as education. Second, statements by geneticists, with In the early 1970s, arguments for or without their active participation, are genetically based racial differences in rapidly translated for the public. This intelligence were used as a justification translation occurs, in part, by the for the dismantling of compensatory popular media's representation of education programs and in school scientific advances and scientists' views. desegregation controversies. Claims for Today's geneticists, caught up in the women's inferiority in mathematics enthusiasm of the successes of the new ability influenced the attitudes of both molecular biology, are contributing to an female students and their parents. unbalanced view of the role of genetics and environment. A climate is being Genetics has also intruded into created in which social policy and discussions of the problem of crime in individual attitudes may be formulated the United States. The temporary ado on the basis of incomplete or incorrect about XYY males led to screening views of the human condition. Care for programs of both newborns and juvenile the way in which genetics is presented to delinquents in some states. We may not the public and involvement in have to worry about a eugenics program countering any misrepresentations is a in this country in the foreseeable future, responsibility of the genetics but the other consequences of misguided community. biological determinist claims are severe enough. (It should be noted that Finally, the history of eugenics and its eugenics programs are in effect in some disastrous consequences raises the societies such as Singapore, where question of the role of the genetics scientific studies from the United States community in dealing with the social are marshaled in support of the policy; impact of its field. Even after they Nature 1984.) became disaffected from the science and politics of the eugenics movement, The future geneticists did little to blunt its effects. It seems likely to me that if geneticists An examination of the history of such as Morgan and Castle had spoken genetics and its relationship to social out loud and often of their disdain for issues holds many lessons. First, the eugenic science, the outcome might well work of geneticists can ultimately be have been different. translated into social policy, sometimes with deleterious consequences. These Today, dealing with the concerns about consequences may occur with the active the social consequences of the new participation of scientists themselves. genetics and the Human Genome In the eugenics movement of the early Project is being relegated, for the most
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