Bioethics Symposium 2017

Student Presentations | Genetically Modified Life: Science, Ethics and Medical Innovation

List of 6 items.

  • [Dis]Ability: How Does Your Genetics Affect Your Identity?

    Elynn Chang '19 and Keerthi Jayaraman '19

    Imagine a characteristic important to you was taken away. How would you feel?
    With new scientific innovations, researchers have been able to “correct” some genetic mutations. In the example of Achondroplasia, patients are able to receive limb-lengthening surgeries that enable them to become about 3-4 inches taller. Although one may initially think that this procedure would be ideal, it begs the question is this taking something away from their identity as a person with dwarfism? In the example of Down Syndrome, scientists have discovered chromosomal therapies to silence the extra Chromosome 21 that causes Down Syndrome. To some this therapy may seem like an obvious solution, but people of the Down Syndrome community argue that the therapy is removing a part of their sense of self. In our presentation, we will be exploring the concept of identity in the cases of these conditions. Participants will gain a new perspective on how to define one’s identity and “disabilities”.
  • A Smarter World

    Isabella Racioppi '19 and Sophia Sinins '18

    What would you do to get smarter? How far would you go? If you could give your child an extra 10 IQ points, why wouldn’t you? Is it fair to those individuals that wouldn’t be able to afford such technology? How would you feel if someone told you that such genetic enhancements are unethical or even illegal? Questions like these will linger as genetic technology expands to reveal limitless possibilities for genetically enhancing intelligence, and it will be up to us to address these concerns for future generations. In this workshop, we will explore the infinite nuances that emerge--including the possibility of creating smarter babies, the impact of new technologies on the future of education, and the ethical and legal implications of such technology. With our growing knowledge of the human genome and rapidly developing technology, a smarter world is not far away. In this future world, the practice of genetically enhancing intelligence will become societal norm, for better or for worse. Will this burgeoning power and technology come with the possibility that the human race will be altered beyond the point of no return?
  • Pandora’s Box: Once One’s Genome is Unlocked, What Will be Unleashed?

    Rebecca Del Rio '18 and Emma Littlejohn '19

    The code that contains the answers regarding an individual’s life is just hidden within themselves. Once the code is cracked, new insights can be drawn to make a difference. But what kind of difference? Negative? Positive? Participants, while engaged in this workshop, will have the opportunity to explore the power that one’s genome inflicts on their individual lifestyle. Throughout the demonstration, the ethical values of autonomy versus beneficence, along with safety and fairness, will be explored to clarify the social tensions that may arise within our nation. Due to one’s genome having the capacity of being involved within many different scientific studies, this presentation will focus on the implications surrounding the expansion of newborn screening system as well as the application of consulting one’s genome when making medical decisions in relation to pharmaceuticals. Overall, we hope to bring awareness to the possibility of a potential future that will use one’s genome in a variety of aspects of life/more often.
  • Is A Normal Life The Best Life? The Parental Responsibility To Do No Harm

    Maddie Zietsman '19 and Anna Hogarth '19

    How would you feel if your fate was predetermined by your parents or guardian? What if your genome was edited prenatally for a characteristic such as eye or hair color? In our modern society, parents normally have the ability to edit their child’s genome before they are born to avoid diseases. However, some people choose to edit their future child’s genome to create a child that can be a genetic match and serve as a cure for a sibling. Additionally, deaf couples can use this technology to select a deaf baby. This workshop will investigate the role parents or guardians play in their child’s lives before they are even born, more specifically, in the cases of savior siblings and choosing the embryo with a deaf gene. By exploring the values of nonmaleficence and parental duty many ethical questions arise: Can quality of life be ensured genetically? What role does the deaf community play in this decision? What future implications may arise when the child figures out that someone else determined a major part of their life? Through this discussion, participants will delve into the nuances of genome editing through case studies and group discussions.
  • Applications of Gene Editing: Gene Doping & Garment Genetics

    Gaby Branin '17 & Lily Roberts '19

    Many people think of gene editing for medical uses only, but have you ever considered the application of editing an organism’s genome for the purpose of enhancing athleticism? How about for enhancing clothing and fashion? In this interactive and unique workshop, participants will have the opportunity to learn about CRISPR, the newest gene editing technology, and tackle challenging case studies surrounding either gene doping or genetically modified fibers for clothing—ultimately leading us to question: would changing the inherent genome alter the nature and meaning of athletics and fashion in our society?
  • Navigating the Norm: The Biological Imperative of Genetic Parenthood

    Hannah Abere '19 & Maris Zammataro '17

    How far would you go to attain and maintain a genetic relationship to your potential child? Whether it is through Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy or Cross-Border Gestational Surrogacy, what measures would you take to assure that you had this intangible connection? In both procedures, the parents rights/values commonly contradict those of other stakeholders: Is it ethical for some rights to take precedence over others? This workshop is designed to explore contemporary societal pressures on parents to prioritize a genetic relationship to their potential child. Participants will analyze this biological imperative with the ethical lenses of the autonomy and fairness of the offspring and the surrogate in each of these cases.
     
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