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Human genome project

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Human genome project


Thesis: Large corporations, such as insurance companies, and governments are looking to save money on future policyholders through the use of genetic testing.

General information on the Human Genome Project

Time of discussion leading up to implementation

Who was involved

Where does the funding come from

Insurance Companies and discrimination

Discrimination against unborn children

Genetic testing for ?bad? or unwanted traits

Fix vs. Abort

Not covering unborn with unwanted traits

Denying Benefits to Current Members

Forcing Genetic test to continue coverage

Not covering spouses, children, etc.. who come up ?Bad?

Denying coverage to new members

1. New members who want to join but have unwanted traits

People switching jobs that need insurance but can't get it


Benefits to people with unwanted traits

Will government protect people with a predisposition to recklessness

Will governments provide benefits for people with predisposition to genetic disorders?


Will welfare be provided to people with genetic predisposition not to work

Will the government try to alter people on welfare


Will the military attempt to genetically alter persons to become greater soldiers or officers?

Will the newly found technologies be used to engineer biological weapons?


Will corporations require genetic testing to be performed as a term of hire?

Will corporations issue genetic testing to employees to determine job position?


A. Define Eugenics

B. Creating a ?Custom Child?

1. Ability

2. Ethics

Privacy and ethical views on genetic testing

General concerns of privacy

Discrimination from insurance companies

Discrimination from government policies

Discrimination from employers

Who should now the results of a genetic test?

Individuals should know

Employers should not know

Government should not know

Insurance should not know

Widespread views on the ethical issues of genetic testing

Physicians and their views

Views of the general public

Discussion on the Negative Implications of the Information Derived from the Human Genome Project

Should man govern nature? This is a question that has been posed more often recently than ever. Human will soon know the secret to life and be able to use that secret in many different ways. This is all made possible by a nation-wide research effort called the Human Genome Project. The HGP is a scientific study and mapping of the estimated 50,000-100,000 genes in the human body. It is being hailed as one of the most important projects in the world by scientists and scholars alike. The information that these researchers uncover could be helpful for generations to come. The research will allow doctors to correct genetic disorders before children are born, eliminate the often-fatal problems associated with babies born prematurely, and to cure diseases such as AIDS. The problem with this project is not the doctors, scientists, and other researchers investigating the genes. They are out to help people and are not doing this to get rich. Large corporations, such as insurance companies, and governments are looking to save money on future policyholders through the use of genetic testing. These illustrate the negative and corruptive aspects of the HGP.

The Human Genome Project was originally founded by the Department Of Energy (DOE) and is now jointly researched by the DOE and the National Institute of Health (NIH). Research on the project began in 1990. They used a four-letter system to decode the long strands of deoxyribonucleic acid. As understood from previous research, there are four nitrogenous base pairs that make up DNA. ?A? stands for Adenine, which is paired with ?T? for Thymine, and ?G? stands for Guanine, which is paired with ?C?, Cytosine. Using this system, scientists from across the globe have properly sequenced a large part of the human genome. This research project was expected to take approximately fifteen years from the beginning. By 1993, the initial plan was in need of revising, because the effort was already ahead of schedule and greatly under budget (Lee 1-3). It is believed that at the current pace of research, 90% of the genome will be sequenced by the year 2000. The entire genome will be completed by 2003 (Begley 3). The government issues thousands of grants a year to the HGP effort, 6500 in 1989 and 4700 in 1990 (Lee 247). ?Traditionally drug companies have developed drugs by looking at ?function? i.e. the illness, and then going back to discover the molecular structures. Now we are drowning in structures, i.e. genes, and trying to find their function? (Branfman 2). This information can provide a little bit of background to the HGP and its purpose.

Despite the positive efforts made by the research community to complete the project and improve many lives, there are many negative aspects that need attention. Insurance companies are very likely to create some problems that will need to be regulated by the government. There has already been evidence that insurance companies have and will use genetic testing as a way of choosing policyholders. Insurance companies will start requiring genetic testing of unborn children for predispositions of undesired traits or diseases. They may then deny the child coverage if the test results prove to be undesirable. The unborn children are not the only ones who will be affected. The current policyholders may be required to take a genetic test to show whether or not they are susceptible to genetic disorders, in which case the insurance company would drop their policy if the results prove to be positive. If the policyholder refuses to submit to a genetic test, his insurance coverage may be discontinued. Spouses, children, and other dependencies may also be required to test for genetic flaws, in which their coverage will discontinue in the event of an undesirable predisposition. One real-life example, ?A healthy boy who carried a gene predisposing him to a heart disorder was denied health coverage by his parents? insurance company, even though the boy took medication that eliminated his risk of heart disease? (Bereano 3). People seeking first time insurance coverage will find it to be the most difficult. They may have to be tested before they can be covered. This scenario can mean that if a potential policyholder is rejected at one company, they may not be able to find coverage from any company (Bereano 2-4).

The insurance companies are not the only area for concern. Government agencies will actually prove to be a very large problem. Many questions can be raised about the government policies on failed genetic tests. One such question would be: Will the government protect people with a predisposition to recklessness? There is no clear-cut way to answer this question, but it seems that it will be self-evident within the next few years. How will the government use genetic testing as a way to control convicted criminals? This is another such question that may have been posed, but for this one there is already an answer forming. ?The FBI has been promoting the genetic screening of criminals to establish state DNA identification data banks to be used in criminal investigations; recent federal legislation penalizes states fiscally if they don't participate. Yet the data includes samples from ...

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