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The Science of Genetics | The Human Genome Project | The Ethics of Genetics

The Science of Genetics

AMNH: Genomic Revolution
The American Museum of Natural History's site for its "Genomic Revolution" exhibit highlights the science and research behind sequencing the human genome, whether it is scientifically feasible and ethical to choose and change our genes, and how we have already begun to reshape our world.

DNA from the Beginning
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's "DNA from the Beginning" is an animation-based guide to important concepts in genetics. The guide is particularly relevant for educators and students, with image galleries, resources, and problems related to each animated concept. The Macromedia Flash Player plug-in is needed to view the site.

NOVA Online: The Code of Life: Explore a Stretch of Code
The "Explore a Stretch of Code" interactive (linked from the bottom of the page) explains the different kinds of genetic code that make up the human genome. The Shockwave plug-in is needed to view the site.

Human Gene Testing
An introduction to genetic testing by The National Academies of Science, this article takes a historical approach in describing the science and technology behind the use of genetic tests to detect genes that cause diseases.

The Virtual Bacterial ID Lab
This Howard Hughes Medical Institute interactive illustrates the tools and techniques scientists use in a molecular lab to extract, amplify, and sequence a section of DNA.

Genetic Science Learning Center
A Web site created for educators, students, and families, with information on the basics of genetics, genetic disorders, and genetics in society. Each area includes current events, interviews, and hands-on, online, and group lessons and activities.

National Institutes of Health Curriculum Supplements
The NIH has developed free interactive teaching units for elementary, middle, and high schools. The high school units primarily focus on advances in genetics, medicine, and health, and include inquiry-based activities for students and a teacher's guide. Order the free supplements on the site.

Exploring Our Molecular Selves
A 3-D, computer-animated video developed by the Human Genome Project illustrating the basic components and principles of molecular biology.

Genetics: Fundamentals and Frontiers CD
A high school print and multimedia curriculum on modern genetics developed jointly by the Hastings Center and Videodiscovery.com.

Tagliaferro, L. and M. V. Bloom. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Decoding Your Genes. New York: Alpha Books, 1999. An introduction to the basics of genetics, genetic research, and the ethical, social, and legal implications of the research.

Keller, E. F. and L. L. Winship. The Century of the Gene. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2001. A historical account of the concept of the gene, from the 19th century to the present. The book covers the science of what a gene is and introduces some of the ethical implications of the concept.

Tudge, C. The Impact of the Gene: From Mendel's Peas to Designer Babies. New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2002. This book provides new and vital insights into the ethics of modern genetics and raises the question of what criteria we must use with regard to this extraordinary and unprecedented power.

Judson, H. F. The Eighth Day of Creation: Makers of the Revolution in Biology. Cold Spring Harbor, New York: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 1996. A book that tells of molecular biology's search for the secret of life, and the human and scientific origins of molecular biology.

Watson, J. D. The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA. New York: New American Library, 1991. This book describes the scientific clues that the author, James Watson, and Francis Crick put together to discover the structure of genetic code—the double helix.

Scientific American Frontiers: Gene Hunters
This video series explores the ease with which one is able to obtain their DNA, the science behind decoding and reading DNA, and the implications this has for genetic engineering. Visit the Web site for more information.

The Human Genome Project

Department of Energy Human Genome Project Information
The DOE, in collaboration with the National Human Genome Research Institute, seeks to sequence and analyze all the genes in the human genome. The DOE Web site provides information on current genome research, has fact sheets on various ethical issues, and provides resources specifically for educators.

National Human Genome Research Institute
NHGRI, in collaboration with the Department of Energy, seeks to sequence and analyze all the genes in the human genome. The NHGRI site includes background information on the Human Genome Project, policies and legislation related to the ethics of genomics research, and a set of educational resources.

Controversial From the Start
An article that describes the history of the Human Genome Project from radical idea to reality. Learn about the people behind the project, including Francis Collins and Craig Venter, and how they formulated and succeeded in sequencing the human genome.

The Human Genome Teacher Networking Project
A primer for teachers on genomics, the Human Genome Project, the project's achievements to-date and next steps, and what medical benefits and societal concerns to expect.

Ridley, M. Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters. New York: HarperCollins, 1999. An accessible, comprehensive, and enjoyable book about what it means to sequence the genome.

Davies, K. Cracking the Genome: Inside the Race to Unlock Human DNA. New York: Free Press, 2001. In this tour through the race to sequence the human genome, the author examines some of the medical and social consequences of genomics.

Yudell, M. and R. Desalle. (editors). The Genomic Revolution: Unveiling the Unity of Life. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2002. A collection of essays by leaders in the scientific, ethical, social, and legal fields of the genome. Contributors include Craig Venter, Harold Varmes, Leroy Hood, and others.

The Ethics of Genetics: Public Policy

U.S. Department Of Energy ELSI
ELSI covers issues of privacy, confidentiality, fairness, reproduction, clinical integration of genetic technologies, and much more. This page outlines the many questions ELSI researches to understand the implications genomics will have on our lives. Don't miss the publication Your Genes, Your Choices, on the left side under Publications, that has case studies of ethical dilemmas that arise from genome research.

Center for Bioethics
Based at the University of Pennsylvania, the Center's activities include bioethics research, degree programs, public service, and Internet resources. The site's Resources section includes a number of issue-based primers and Bioethics for Beginners, which has an introduction to the field of bioethics, a description of how to enter the field, links to bioethics graduate programs, a list of related journals, and much more.

University of Pennsylvania High School Bioethics Project
This University of Pennsylvania site for high school students is an excellent introduction to bioethics. The site includes issue briefs on gene therapy, genetic privacy, genetically modified food, and other breaking news. Each brief also includes questions, activities, suggested group projects, and resources. The site also has a helpline for students who have questions about bioethics.

The American Journal of Bioethics
A site devoted to breaking news on bioethics-related issues and, for journal subscribers, access to the journal's current and past issues.

Geneforum seeks to promote dialogue and educate people about genome science and its impact on their lives. The site provides an area where experienced science educators create and facilitate discussions on relevant genetic-related topics. The site also includes public opinion research, briefs and resources on genetic privacy and genetically modified organisms, and an "e-mail your [government] representative" feature.

The Genetic Alliance
The Genetic Alliance is an international coalition of individuals, professionals, and genetic support organizations working together to promote healthy lives for everyone impacted by genetics. The site includes a directory of genetic organizations and resources, background information on genetics-related ethical, social, and legal issues, a helpline to contact genetic counselors, and much more.

Genetics Legislation
This page, run by the Human Genome Project, provides up-to-date information on genetic privacy legislation.

Genetics Legislative Activity
The National Conference of State Legislatures site provides legislative information broken down by state on a comprehensive set of genetics-related issues. To access the issues, click "Public User" on the homepage.

Hastings Center for Bioethics
The Hastings Center follows ethical questions in health care, biotechnology, and the environment. The site provides a history of the center, their research programs, and a number of their publications.

Bioethics Forums CD
Videodiscovery has developed twelve modules on bioethics for high school biology students that lead them through a bioethical decision-making process.

National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics
NCHPEG is a coalition that supports a national effort to promote health professional education and access to information about advances in human genetics to improve the health care of the nation. Their site includes information on the organization as well as various articles and publications related to genetics and the health profession.

National Society of Genetic Counselors
NSGC promotes the genetic counseling profession as a recognized and integral part of health care delivery, education, research, and public policy. Their site provides information for the general public and for those interested in genetic counseling as a career, as well as a resource to find a genetic counselor near you.

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