The Human Genome Project

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  • Created by: alexda
  • Created on: 26-02-15 22:31

The Human Genome Project

Advantages

  • Predict and prevent diseases: By knowing which genes predispose people to particular conditions, doctors will be able to predict which people are likely to suffer from a particular disease and  offer a preventive course of action, which may involve medical treatment or lifestyle changes. Furthermore, cures could be found for genetic diseases like cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anaemia.
  • Improved medicine: Personalised medicines can be developed based on the way our individual bodies react to the disease and the treatments, which will be more effective because the medicines will be tailored for our specific medical needs.
  • Accurate diagnoses: Doctors can develop more accurate diagnostic techniques for certain conditions which are difficult to diagnose at an early stage.
  • Improve forensic science: Genetic fingerprinting helps to match a suspect to the biological material found at a crime scene. In the future it could be possible to figure out what a suspect looks like from DNA found at a crime scene e.g. their eye, hair and skin colour.

Disadvantages

  • Increased stress: People could be diagnosed with illnesses that they are suspectible to develop in the future and spend their life worrying about it even before they get it.
  • Geneism: People with genetic problems could be under pressure not to have children as a threat of passing on their faulty genes onto the next generation.
  • Discrimination by employers and insurers: Life insurance could be impossible to get and more expensive if you have any genetic likelihood of serious disease. Furthermore, employers may discriminate against people who are genetically likely to get a disease and be favourable to those who are healthy.

Evaluation

The Human Genome Project is beneficial for science and preventing disease and curing diseases. However, it raises ethical issues as it can cause discrimination by employers and insurers.  

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