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From Chance to Choice. The Human Genome Project St Austell 22 October 2002. The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Perfection? Science - Fantasy or Reality? Risky Business? Consequences - gambling with our future or securing a better future?. GATTACA Columbia Pictures.

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From chance to choice

From Chance to Choice

The Human Genome Project

St Austell

22 October 2002


The birthmark by nathaniel hawthorne
The Birthmarkby Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Perfection?

  • Science - Fantasy or Reality?

  • Risky Business?

  • Consequences - gambling with our future or securing a better future?


Gattaca columbia pictures

GATTACAColumbia Pictures

‘We now have discrimination down to a science’

‘There is no gene for the human spirit’


Assisted reproductive technology
Assisted Reproductive Technology

  • Continuous development of new technologies

    • To try and improve ART

    • Expand availability of treatment


Art some facts
ART - some facts

  • In the year 2000 there were about 572,800 ‘natural’ live births and 4,362 live births following ART: that is 0.76%

  • There are 68 clinics in the UK - over 95% of people pay for their treatment


Is the choice safe
Is the choice safe?

  • Research and Development

    • Rarely established in other species

    • Often first try with human embryos

    • Few controlled randomised trials

    • Not sure if beneficial/long term effects


Choosing your child
Choosing your Child

  • Defining ‘disease’ and ‘disability’

  • Pre-implantation genetic selection ‘diagnosis’

  • Genetic ‘enhancement’ of embryos - why not?

    • patenting and commercialisation


Hfea research licence
HFEA - Research Licence

  • Advances in infertility treatment

  • Knowledge about congenital disease

  • Knowledge about causes of miscarriage

  • Contraception

  • PGD

  • Knowledge about embryo development

  • Knowledge about serious disease

  • Developing treatment for serious disease


The cloning issue
The Cloning Issue

  • Does this present any greater unknown than the other ‘treatments’?

    • Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine 1997 (UK not signatory)

      • Suggested ban on

        • Cloning (human reproductive ban)

        • Sex Selection (except X linked diseases)

        • Creating embryos for research


Stem cell research
Stem Cell Research

  • Patient consent for research - for any use, altruistic?

  • Using ‘Spare’ embryos - why not?

  • Creating embryos for research

  • Cloning embryos for research


From chance to choice1

From Chance to Choice?

Where do we want to go from here?


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