Morality and the Human Genome Project

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, November 1996

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Basic paper for use in Human Reproduction classes Very interesting angle

Morality and the Human Genome Project

Does the Human Genome Project affect the moral standards of society?

Can the information produced by it become a beneficial asset or a moral evil?

For example, in a genetic race or class distinction the use of the X chromosome

markers can be used for the identification of a persons ethnicity or class

(Murphy,34). A seemingly harmless collection of information from the

advancement of the Human Genome Project. But, lets assume this information is

used to explore ways to deny entry into countries, determine social class, or even

who gets preferential treatment. Can the outcome of this information effect the

moral standards of a society?

The answers to the above and many other questions are relative to the

issues facing the Human Genome Project. To better understand these topics a

careful dissection of the terminology must be made.

Websters Dictionary defines

morality as ethics, upright conduct, conduct or attitude judged from the moral

standpoint. It also defines a moral as concerned with right and wrong and the

distinctions between them. A Genome is 'the total of an individuals genetic

material,' including, 'that part of the cell that controls heredity' (Lee,4).

Subsequently, 'reasearch and technology efforts aimed at mapping and

sequencing large portions or entire genomes are called genome projects'

(Congress,4). Genome projects are not a single organizations efforts, but instead

a group of organizations working in government and private industry through

out the world. Furthermore, the controversies surrounding the Human Genome

Project can be better explained by the past events leading to the project, the

structure of the project, and the moral discussion of the project.

The major events of genetic history are important to the Human Genome

Project because the...