Human Genome Project

Tengah godek2 fail lama tadi when accidentally stumbled upon sekeping notes presentation untuk subjek Ethics/Current Issues masa kat INTEC dulu. Copy kat sini lah, mana tahu boleh jadi historic document. Hehe.

Human Genome Project

  • Completed on 2003
  • Took 13 years
  • Coordinated by US Department of Energy, and National Institute of Health (NIH)
  • Joint by international party, such as WelcomeTrust (UK)

Goals

  • Identify all approximately 20k-25k genes in human DNA
  • Determine the sequence of 3 billions chemical base pair that makes up a DNA
  • Store this information in databases
  • Improve tools for data analysis
  • Transfer related technologies to private sectors
  • Address the ethical, legal and social issues

Societal Concerns

  1. Fairness in the use of genetic information. Who should have access to personal genetic information, and how will it be used? Primary concerns:
    1. To deny, limit or cancel insurance policies.
    2. Employers use it against workers or to screen potential employees.
  2. Privacy and confidentiality. Who owns and controls these genetic informations?
    1. Medical history, medical background etc
  3. Psychological impact and stigmatization. How does personal genetic information affects an individual or community perceptions among themselves?
    1. For example, among African American in US. The fear of actuarial classification of “genetic exceptionalism” to the burden African Americans would face, if they were among those labeled by some as “biological underclass”
  4. Commercialization of the products. Who owns the piece of DNA?
    1. Property right, patents, copyright, trade right etc.
  5. Health and environmental issues.

Benefits

  1. Molecular Medicine
    1. Improve diagnosis of diseases
    2. Earlier detection of genetic diseases
    3. “Custom drugs”
  2. Energy and environmental applications
    1. Research on carbon sequestration
    2. Microbial genomic research on biofuels
  3. Risk Assesment
    1. Assess health damage and risks caused by risk factors (radiation exposures, mutagenic chemicals, carcinogenic toxins)
  4. DNA Forensics

Societal Concerns vs Science Breakthrough?

  • Stem cell usage to develop essential parts of human body.
  • Research on “The Fountain of Youth” (Cure of Aging, the immortality elixir)
  • The chances to cure hereditary diseases
  • The possibilities of having child for couples who can’t.

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