Home DNA tests and unexpected paternity

December 30, 2021

Occasionally posts on one of our blogs have relevance to a second site at well. My review of the recent radio documentary A Family of Strangers, is a case in point. The article can be reached via this link:
Home Genetic Testing: When a Christmas present uncovers a concealed past .

Illegal Organ Trading (Panorama)

September 16, 2020

In a disturbing documentary, Dr Sean Columb from Liverpool University goes to Egypt to investigate the illegal trade in human organs. We hear tales of people tricked into selling organs for less than they expected, of others being drugged and waking up having had a kidney removed, even bodies of murdered individuals found in the desert with multiple organs missing.

The programme is available on the BBC iPlayer and, for member institutions, via the BoB service.

Human rights for “synths”?

July 19, 2018

Occasionally I cross-post articles that first appeared on one of my other blogs. This link goes to a piece I wrote over at the Journal of the Left-Handed Biochemist summarising a paper that had appeared in Medical Law Review, The paper looks at the grounds on which three types of non-human “sapients” might be considered human. Since it has a clear ethical theme, and a close tie-in with the excellent series Humans, I have included mention of it here.

synth post

Face Transplantation

July 4, 2018

In recent years transplantation has become a feasible way to treat some facial disfigurement. The process is not without its challenges – both scientific and ethical. This video on face transplantation was made by second year students as an assessed piece of coursework at the University of Leicester, UK.

Egg Freezing

June 30, 2017

In recent years the ability to freeze human eggs for later IVF has become a viable procedure (no pun intended). The announcement in 2014 that Apple and Facebook announced free egg freezing for female employees (see https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/oct/15/apple-facebook-offer-freeze-eggs-female-employees) led to more discussion about the ethical issues raised by this development.

This video on egg freezing was made by second year students as an assessed piece of coursework at the University of Leicester, UK.

Organ trading

May 25, 2016

This video was produced by students at the University of Leicester. The team made effective use of a fictional case study to investigate some of the ethical issues associated with organ trading.

Gene therapy

June 30, 2015

Gene therapy was the subject covered in the best video produced by students in the 2014-15 cohort of Medical Biochemists at the University of Leicester.

This is an excellent example of “whiteboard animation” – you don’t get such an effective result without significant planning. The video is wrong to say treatment of X-SCID was the first successful use; the first case involved Ashanti DeSilva, who had ADA-SCID. It does not include any coverage of genome editing methods, which are the most exciting new development in this area. Nevertheless, a very useful primer on the topic.


Performance-enhancing Drugs in Sport

June 24, 2015

Each year second year students on the Medical Biochemistry programme at the University of Leicester produce videos on bioethical topics as one of their assignments.

This video on Performance-enhancing drugs in sport was rated as the runner-up for the 2014-15 cohort. Although there are some mispronunciations and it would have been better shot landscape than portrait, it nevertheless raises some of the key ethical issues in an engaging manner, and is an excellent example of paper-based animation.


Incidental findings in biomedical research

June 16, 2015

Investigations such as genome sequencing and brain imaging have the potential to reveal details about the patient of research subject which were not the principal reason for the study. The ethical issues associated with such “incidental findings” is the subject of this short film, made by students at the University of Leicester.

The video was rated the third best produced by students in the 2014-15 cohort.

People interested in knowing more about the topic might also like to read:
Green et al. (2013) ACMG recommendations for reporting of incidental findings in clinical exome and genome sequencing Genetics in Medicine 15:565-574

Vernooji et al. (2007) Incidental Findings on Brain MRI in the General Population New England Journal of Medicine 357:1821-1828


August 28, 2014

VeriChips are radio-frequency identification devices (RFIDs) that have been under consideration for a range of medical and other uses.

This short video, produced by students at the University of Leicester, considers some of the science and ethics associated with this technology.