Beliefnet
A consortium of federal and private researchers has just announced the first "sequencing" of the human genome, a data map that shows the location of all human DNA. What advances or problems might come of this discovery?
POSITIVE
  • Gene Therapy: Treatments that replace defective genes with healthy ones for diseases such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia
  • "Pharmacogenetics": Medicines matched to a person's genes to prevent side effects
  • Accurate predictions of long-term susceptibility to disease or mental disorders that can prompt preventive measures
  • Improved congenital treatments that cure some conditions before a baby is born
  • WORRISOME
  • Genetic screening that denies people jobs or health insurance on the basis of heredity susceptibility
  • A rise in abortions, caused when parents find out that fetuses have genetic "markers" for defects or merely for being short or weak or mentally average
  • Loss of medical privacy as elaborate genetic data bases are compiled
  • Various "Brave New World" scenarios if someone discovers how to manipulate genes for mind control or other evil ends
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