Human Genome Project Presentation

Jazzy A. & Riddhi R. & Michelle K.

DNA Profiling/ DNA Sequencing

  • How does it work?

    • Though 99% of the human DNA is exactly the same, only a small piece of evidence such as an eyelash can give scientists a person’s entire genetic makeup

    • 1) Collect a sample of DNA: only 100 micrograms of a sample are needed to construct a DNA profile

    • 2) Using the polymerase chain reaction, scientists can amplify the sample of DNA by making copies of the Short Tandem Repeats. The number of STRs in a sequence vary from person to person and this distinguishing factor is what helps identify whose DNA it is.

    • 3) During the process of PCR, each STR region is dyed (one color per region). This way all DNA fragments can be distinguished when they are mixed together.

    • 4) Gel electrophoresis separates the DNA by length making it easier to determine the length of each region of STRs and therefore the number of repeats in that specific region

    • 5) To match a person with his/her DNA, all STR regions must match up in length. Even one differing STR is enough to rule out a subject.

Ethics/Moral Issues of DNA profiling/ DNA sequencing

  • Does information from the human genome project belong to everyone?

  • Against:

    • the Human Genome Project has allowed gene therapy to come into consideration. Gene Therapy is when scientists can locate a defective allele and replace it with the correct one. People are concerned that this goes against nature and that we are in a way creating “superhumans” with minimal defects.

    • Some religious groups voice that mankind is taking over the role of the Supreme Creator

    • Readily accessible information can also lead to genetic discrimination (ex: before hiring, a boss can look at someone’s genetic information and see if they have the potential skills to do well at the job)

  • For:

    • with the information available, genetic screening before birth is a possibility. People can figure out which diseases they are possibly susceptible to and take actions to avoid getting the disease.

  • Some private biotech companies have patented genes they have discovered. Is this ethically right?

  • “Should products of nature be the same as human- made inventions?”

  • In the last 31 years, 20% of the Human Genome has been patented

  • EX: Myriad Genetics is a company based in Utah that patented the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene whose mutations are linked to risk of breast or ovarian cancer.

  • This meant that only company that could test for possible abnormalities of the genes

  • Against Patenting:

    • Those that challenge Myriad say that the company doesn’t make the test available enough to where people even without a family history can be tested.

    • Patient Right Groups counter that diagnostic care and access of information to high risk patients is “held hostage” when genes are patented

    • Because the company didn’t “invent” a certain gene, just found it, it does not have the right to control it

    • Without a patent, other scientists can engage in research without the fear of being sued

    • People will have greater access to genetic testing

  • For Patenting:

    • scientists and companies argue that patenting encourages investment and innovation in the medical field and that has a greater potential of saving lives.

Legal Issues of DNA profiling/ DNA sequencing

  • If you obtain your DNA sequencing through a company like, who owns your gene sequencing? Who really has access to this information?

    • A fundamental key issue is who has dispositional rights over an individual's genome.

    • Exactly what is "owned"

      • we must distinguish between the physical embodiment of the genome in DNA and its informational content. With regard to its informational content, we must also distinguish between information about unique identifiers and medical information. Different rules may apply to each aspect

    • Ex. Moore v. Regents of the University of California

      • The case rejected a property right in the tissue itself, but held that the patient had a right to informed consent from his physician about removal and use of those cells

      • Informed consent--a type of liability rule-- protects an individual’s right to decide whether to provide tissue to a doctor or researcher, including the right not to provide it if it will be sequenced or tested for purposes to which the person objects. But it gives no rights over the genomic information that is derived from that DNA, whether removed with or without his consent or retrieved from objects that a person has touched or discarded.

  • Should you be given a royalty fee if you obtain your own DNA sequencing and a company wants to use it?

    • Under the website for the Human Genome Project it says the it is optional to ask for payment for a donation.

    • However, they also say that in case of unwanted media attention, emotional distress, or discrimination, you will NOT be compensated

    • You will also not receive any economic benefit from commercial products that are produced as a result of your DNA

Social Issues of DNA profiling/ DNA sequencing

  • What social implications stem from DNA profiling (identity, self-esteem, and relationship issues?

    • Genetic testing raises confidentiality and privacy issues.

    • There is concern about the possibility of job or insurance discrimination.

    • DNA testing is highly personal and is threatening for some people. It is often associated with anxiety, fear, and guilt.

    • Results have implications for relatives, and people are often illequipped to disseminate this information to their family mem bers.

    • Family dynamics may be affected—for example, through strained relationships between affected and unaffected relatives and pres sure to discuss sensitive matters. Obtaining specimens from rela tives may be difficult.

  • What applications of DNA profiling have been seen- and what are their positive and negative impacts (consider the role it has in paternity tests, crime victims, and exonerations- and it’s accuracy as compared to other methods?

    • Applications

      • Personal Identification

      • Diagnosis and Cures for Genetic Diseases

      • Criminal Identification

      • Paternity and Maternity

    • Positive Impacts

      • DNA evidence used during a criminal trial can be used both as a means of convicting the guilty and exonerating the innocent.

      • DNA fingerprinting for hereditary diseases can give medical professionals the information they need to help patients delay or prevent disease through intervention and lifestyle changes.

      • Paternity can be established for peace-of-mind of children who want to know about their heritage.

    • Negative Impacts

      • The accuracy of DNA fingerprint testing is solely dependant on experience and competency of lab personnel and equipment.

      • DNA can degrade over time which would result in inaccurate information.

      • DNA Fingerprinting databases infringe upon privacy and civil liberties.

      • Inaccurate DNA results could convict an innocent person of a crime.

      • The possibility of discrimination against certain races.


How does it work???

  1. Animal that is going to be Cloned Donates a Cell
  2. Animal that is not going to be replicated but of same species donates an unfertilized egg which is later used only the outside because the nucleus is sucked out by a micropipette
  3. Cell nucleus of Being-Replicated Animal is fused with Donated cell by electrical pulse
  4. Only both parts get used together, another electrical pulse fertilizes the two in order to create embryo
  5. Embryo is then placed into a surrogate mother (of the same species)
  6. Cell continues to divide into an Cloned Organism once birthed out by surrogate mother

Ethical/ Legal/ Social Issues with Cloning

  • It took 277 tries to clone Dolly the sheep. So, what happened to the 276 others? Consider the consequences of cloning.

    • Pros: Genetic illnesses are killing a mass amount of people and the more the humans reproduce, the more people are receptive to them. With cloning, these defective/mutated genes can be eliminated of healthy human cells. Also, when humans get into a traumatic injury, cloning healthy cells of their own can speed up their recovery to regrow limbs or parts of them damaged or gone. Also, for couples who are infertile, it is heart-breaking to many however cloning could make a younger twin of the mom or dad. This way, infertile parents can have a child through cloning.

    • Cons: With cloning a cell that has already been made, technically it has already been living therefore the owner of the cloned cell would feel all the effects of an older age than they actually such as premature aging and fragility. Also, when you clone someone, you creating another person that is exactly the same therefore if we had a bunch of human clones everyone, we as a race would lose our individuality since we all have someone who is us. Also, with cloning, it begins to be sold where humans can become commodities and if we keep making perfect clones, it could “create new societal division” where the perfect clones are better than normal humans. We no longer embrace our imperfections. Biggest problem is that it kills the original human embryo when researched which all the trial and errors to create these clones is opposed by many.

  • What differences are there in reproductive and therapeutic cloning? Consider the ethical and moral aspects of this.

    • Reproductive cloning is when the clone is birthed by a surrogate mother but therapeutic cloning is where the clone grows up in a lab. Therapeutic cloning is worse than reproductive cloning because it is dehumanizing a baby. It is making a person a experiment. A human should live its life by its choice, not secluded to be tested all its life. A kid is a kid and should grow up with a loving family and normal childhood. Taking that away from a baby, that poor baby will be unhappy all its life. What difference is a human stuck in experimentation all its life and a slave...