Read the information found in the Bioethics: Choices for the Future box on page 40 of the text entitled "Should you Bank your Stem Cells?" Based on the information given, discuss the following questions:
1) Storing stem cells is not regulated by the U.S. government the way that a drug or a surgical procedure is because it is a service that will be helpful for treatments not yet invented. Do you think such banks should be regulated, and if so, by whom and how?
2) Do you think that advertisements for cord blood storage services that have quotes and anecdotal reports, but do not mention that most people who receive stem cell transplants do not in fact receive their own cells, are deceptive? Or do you think it is the responsibility of the consumer to research and discover this information?
Dolly, a sheep, was cloned from the nucleus of a mammary cell. In the past few year mice, cats and pigs have joined sheep in a growing collection of cloned mammals. Despite the sheep in a growing collection of cloned mammals. Despite the growing numbers of cloned animals there are still many problems. Read the Bioethics: Choices for the Future box on page 54 of the text and discuss the following question:
What do you think are some of the technical challenges and ethical concerns involved in cloning?
Personal privacy, including privacy over personal genetic information, can be a very touchy issue. Read the "Bioethics: Choices for the Future" textbox on page 179 and discuss the following questions.
1. Do you think that DNA data obtained without consent shoud be admissible in a court of law?
2. Do you think the United States should have a law prohibiting sampling of others' DNA without their permission?
In the autosomal recessive condition polyglandular syndrome, the immune system attacks several glands, producing symptoms of hair and nail loss, high blood sugar, disrupted calcium metabolism, slow metabolism, chronic yeast infections in the mouth, flaky skin, and loss of skin pigment. The responsible mutation changes a CGA DNA triplet to TGA, and the gene encodes a transcription factor. How is the protein gene product abnormal? And, how can one gene exert such varied effects?
Margaret is 102 years old, and she still walks at least half a mile a day, albeit slowly. She is a trim vegetarian who has rarely been ill her entire life. Morris is an obese, balding 62-year-old man who has high blood pressure and colon cancer. How might their proteome protraits, such as the one in figure 11.4, differ? (Hint: Reread Reading 3.1, Genes and Longevity.)
A 37-year old pregnant woman worries about her family's history of mental retardation. Genetic testing shows this woman is a carrier of the mutant gene for fragile X syndrome, an inherited form of mental retardation. The woman is offered prenatal testing and says she will abort any affected fetus, including a female carrier of the flawed gene. She states that she wants her legacy of this inherited disorder to end. This presents the genetic counseling center with an ethical dilemma. Should the center perform the test knowing that client will abort a healthy fetus that happens to be a carrier of this particular genetic mutation?
A woman, desperate to fill in the leaves on her family tree, cornered a stranger in a fast-food restaurant. Her genealogical research had identified him as a distant cousin, and she needed his DNA to confirm. He refused to cooperate, looked scared, and ran off. The woman took his discarded coffee cup and collected DNA from the spit within, which she sent on a swab to a DNA ancestry testing company. (This is a true story).
Do you think the woman was justified in her action? Why or why not? Also, what are the strengths and limitations of using genealogical information (family records, word-of-mouth) versus DNA testing to construct a pedigree?
James B. McGovern, well known for his flying in World War II, was 32 years old when the plane he was piloting over north Vietnam was hit by groundfire on May 6, 1954. Of the five others aboard, only two survived. Remains of a man about his height and age at death were discovered in late 2002, but could not be identified by dental records. However, DNA sampled from a leg bone enabled forensic scientists to identify him. Describe the type of DNA likely analyzed, and what further information was needed to make the identification.
Study is examining the expression of certain genes in people about to undergo weight loss surgery (gastric bypass), to see if these patterns predict individuals most likely to benefit by achieving long-term weight loss.
a. Name three genes, or types of genes, that might provide valuable information for this analysis.
b. What is a limitation of this study design?
c. Do you think that this study has value?
The current policy of the NCAA is to allow transgender athletes to participate in sports according to the gender listed on their official government documents, such as birth certificate, driver's license and passport. Discuss the implications of this policy as they relate to discrimination, fair treatment and performance parity. Please keep in mind that this can be a very sensitive topic, and please remember to be respectful.
Studies indicate that in the United States, the incidence of autism has dramatically increased since 1990. Discuss whether you think that this supports a genetic cause or an environmental cause for autism.
Discuss the benefits and dangers of using DNA evidence in court cases. Based on your discussion, do you think that DNA evidence should be used in court cases?
re-symptomatic diagnosis for FAP is possible and is done by genetic testing for the APC gene. What should genetic counselors and clinicians do when they uncover information that can save lives, but are asked not to disclose this information to people who could benefit? Imagine that one member of a family with a history of colon cancer finds out that they have FAP and it is because they inherited the APC gene mutation. This patient has also potentially passed his gene along to his children, and his siblings, nieces and nephews are also at risk for FAP. The discovery of FAP in this family could identify family members at risk and begin a careful screening program that would help to monitor and treat individuals at early stages of the disease. Discuss the following questions:
1. What happens if the patient does not want his family to know about his condition?
2. Does the patient have the right to keep this genetic information confidential?
3. Most people agree that privacy should be maintained for information gained from genetic tests, but is this true when it relates to the future health of others?
4. How could the release of this information affect health insurance coverage for the patient's family? Some might consider inheriting a mutant APC as a pre-existing condition.
Elsie finds a small lump in her breast and goes to her physician, who takes a medical and family history. She mentions that her father died of brain cancer, a cousin had leukemia, and her older sister was just diagnosed with a tumor of connective tissue. The doctor assures her that the family cancer history doesn't raise the risk that her breast lump is cancerous, because the other cancers were not in the breast. is the doctor correct?