Ethical Issues of Genetic Screening Essay

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Ethical Issues of Genetic Screening


As we approach the 21st century, we as a society are increasingly bombarded with technical advances. One such area of advancement is the research involved with the Human Genome Mapping Project (HGMP). HGMP is a multi-billion dollar world wide research collaboration interested in sequencing the entire human genome. Started on October 1, 1990, with a group of over 350 labs, and expected to finish within the next 5 to 7 years, the Human Genome Mapping Project has given rise to many important advancements and many discoveries about the genetic make-up of humans (Bylinsky, 1994). With these advances come many ethical questions and concerns. The ability to screen an individual for specific
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In the past 40 plus years, since the publication of a simplistically short article by Drs. Watson and Crick describing the structure of DNA, the scientific world has slowly been taken over by the ever advancing fields of genetics and its younger sister biotechnology.


There are many different techniques involved in gene sequencing. Without these techniques the mere thought of gene sequencing would still be little more than science fiction. Since the start of the Human Genome Mapping Project some of these techniques have been altered to speed up the screening process. Examples of these techniques include PCR (polymerase chain reaction), RFLP's (restriction fragment length polymorphism), cloning, and the use of markers for specific genes.

One of the biggest inventions that has allowed genetic screening to occur was the invention of PCR (polymerase chain reaction) by Kary Mullis. PCR, patented in 1987, was the key to advancing genetic research to the next level. This technique enables a single copy of a gene to be replicated millions of times with great speed and ease. Since its invention, alterations of this technique have allowed for many variations such as RAPID's (Randomly Amplified Polymorphic DNA), GAWTS (Genomic Amplification with Transcript Sequencing) and other techniques. These techniques have been utilized in the mapping and sequencing of the human genome along

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