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Science Matters

Your Genes: Choice or Chance?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Click here to download Pragna Patel's presentation. (3MB, PPT)

Click here to download Olophius Perry's presentation. (263KB, PPT)

Click here to download James J. Walter's presentation. (149KB, PPT)

Click here to download Stanley F. Nelson's presentation. (2.5MB, PPT)

The past decade in biological research has produced startling findings and set the stage for major potential inroads toward progress against human disease. In particular scientific research on the human genome has pitted the hopes for progress toward the eradication of disease against ethical concerns about manipulating the human genome and worries over public access to private data. The issues associated with this new technology are nearly as complex as the science underlying the genome itself. What is the role of our genes vs. our personal health choices in determining health outcomes and will we require substantial shifts in environmental policy in order to render our behavioral choices effective. As genetic information becomes more readily available should we err on the side of privacy in making decisions regarding employment, insurance and law or should we override these issues in order to address a greater common good? What are the ethical issues associated with manipulating the human genome and should theological considerations play any role in the formulation of policies and guidelines pertaining to genomic research and personal decision-making?

In this program, a scientist presented an overview of human genome science. In this light, panelists offered different perspectives on the approaches required to deal with the consequences of having information about the human genome .

Featured panelists included: (click name for bio)

Conan Nolan—moderator

Reporter, NBC4

Pragna Patel, Ph.D.

Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Institute for Genetic Medicine, USC School of Medicine

Olophius Perry, Esq.

District Director, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, L.A. District Office

James J. Walter, Ph.D.

Professor of Bioethics and Chair, The Bioethics Institute, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California

Stanley F. Nelson, M.D.

Professor and Vice Chair of Human Genetics and Professor of Psychiatry, Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA

Support for this program was provided by the California Community Empowerment Foundation and the American Association for the Advancement of Science

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