When did the project start and how did scientists hope to use this information (what are the goals in the beginning)?
The project started in 1990 as a coordinated effort between the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health. The scientists hope the information could benefit medicine by helping us understand and treat genetic diseases. The main goal of the Human Genome Project is to identify the DNA sequence of every gene in the human genome.
What were the implications of the Human Genome Project in regards to ethical, legal, and social implications?
Some implications were fairness in the use of genetic information by insurers, employers, courts, schools, adoption agencies, and the military.
Also, there was privacy and confidentiality of genetic information.
There was also implications about psychological impact and stigmatization due to an individual's genetic differences.
Human Genome Project
How did the human genome project change current laws such as GINA?
GINA prohibits U.S. insurance companies and employers from discriminating on the basis of information derived from genetic tests. The Human Genome Project wanted to identify the DNA sequence of every gene in the human genome.
Genetic Disorders- an abnormal condition that a person inherits through genes or chromosomes
Single gene disorders- caused by mutations that occur in the DNA sequence of a gene. When a gene is mutated so that its protein product can no longer carry out its normal function, a disorder can result.
Chromosome abnormalities- abnormalities in chromosome structure such as, missing or extra copies or gross breaks and rejoinings.
examples: Down syndrome, Turners syndrome
Multifactorial disorders- caused by a combination of environmental factors and mutations in multiple genes. Multifactorial disorders are more difficult to analyze than single gene or chromosomal disorders. Some of the most common chronic disorders are multifactorial.
examples: heart disease, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and obesity.
How can genetic counseling help perspective parents who have a genetic disorder regarding future children?
genetic counseling-the counseling of individuals, and of prospective parents regarding their offspring, on the probabilities, dangers, diagnosis, and treatment of inherited diseases.
Genetic counselors can help you understand genetic disorders and the possible outcomes future children will have.
Doctor’s use karyotypes and pedigrees to show the possible outcomes and to show if the offspring of the parent will have certain genetic disorders.
This is a pedigree of
Genetic Disorders How are karyotypes used to predict genetic disorders? -Karyotypes show all the chromosomes in a cell arranged in pairs. Karyotypes can reveal whether a developing baby has the correct number of chromosomes in its cells. Some genetic disorders have to do with too many, or not enough chromosomes, so a karyotype can show if a developing has a chromosome abnormality.
Argument 1 (pro)
People tend to work better with people they like or they are comfortable with. If a child is what a parent wants, they most likely will have a better relationship with each other.
Parents can choose the gender, eye, skin, and hair color of the baby. They can also determine intelligence, beauty, and height.
Argument 2 (pro)
If a family decides to have a designer baby, it will lessen the chance of the child to have a genetic disorder like Down Syndrome, Cystic Fibrosis, or sickle cell disease. Parents wont have to worry about genetic counseling and having a child with a genetic disease.
Argument 3 (pro)
Having a designer baby could help you or anyone in your family. Adam Nash was the first designer baby born. His sister had Fanconi's anaemia and needed help. Scientist selectively chose his embryo so that he would possess the right cells to save his dying sister's life. He became a donor who doubled the chances of his sister’s survival.
The first designer baby to be born in the UK was James Harry Whitaker. His brother had a rare blood disorder, Diamond Blackfan anaemia. His parents wanted to use James’ umbilical cord blood to "kickstart" Charlie's immune system to produce healthy red blood cells. Mr Whitaker, 33, told the newspaper: "All we did was change the odds from a one-in-four chance of a tissue match to a 98% chance. There was no selection on the basis of color of eyes or hair or sex."
Argument 4 (con)
Some people think that designing a baby is along the lines of what Adolf Hitler was doing when he was trying to create a race of blonde hair, blue eyed, and tall people.
Too many people designing babies could affect biodiversity, which could result in long term disaster.
Since you can prevent your baby from having genetic defects, people who do have genetic defects could be socially rejected.
Argument 5 (con)
Making a designer baby where you choose the gender, eye, hair, and skin color, intelligence, beauty, and height of the baby costs about 18,000 dollars for each baby. Add the amount of money you need to take care of the baby, and you could be spending a lot of money for just one baby. Having a child naturally would cost much less.
Argument 6 (con)
By choosing if your child has an affinity for art or sports, then you are basically choosing how your child is going to spend their time and you aren’t letting them choose how they want to spend their time. If you made the child to be more artistic and creative than logical, they might grow up following a different path than what nature intended for them and its kind of like cheating nature. It’s also taking away choice from the child. Having a designer baby isn’t supposed to be like having a pet.
We personally are against designer babies. Screening for, and preventing diseases is okay but being able to choose the sex, and physical features is going too far. It raises the same ethical questions as creating a clone. When a person creates a designer baby focusing on physical characteristics, it places too much emphasis on the way the child looks. If the parent also chooses characteristics such as, intelligence, beauty, and athletic ability then you are changing what nature intended for the child and making him/her live a certain way, rather then how the child would like to live. Also, “designing” babies is not the most important thing that government money could be going towards. Stem cell research and organ cloning are of greater importance.
Johnson, Priya. "Pros and Cons of Designer Babies." Buzzle Web Portal: Intelligent Life on the Web. Web. 24 Mar. 2011. <http://www.buzzle.com/articles/pros-and-cons-of-designer-babies.html>.
"Genetic Disease Information." Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Web. 24 Mar. 2011. <http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/medicine/assist.shtml>.
Blackstock, Colin. "Matched and Hatched, Britain's First 'designer Baby' Born to save Brother | Science | The Guardian." Latest News, Comment and Reviews from the Guardian | Guardian.co.uk . Web. 24 Mar. 2011. <http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2003/jun/19/genetics.uknews>.
"Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues --Genome Research." Oak Ridge National Laboratory . Web. 24 Mar. 2011. <http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/elsi/elsi.shtml>.