DNA databases

June 12, 2013

For many years, the UK has utilised a National DNA database. This is a powerful tool in crime-fighting but is ethically controversial. The recent US Supreme Court decision (Maryland v King) rehearses some of these issues in an American context (see various posts on the Stanford Law and Biosciences blog for further reflection on the ramifications of the Supreme Court case).

The following video, which included an interview with DNA fingerprinting pioneer Sir Alec Jeffreys, was produced by second year students at the University of Leicester.

Users of Bioethicsbytes interested in teaching about the ethics of DNA databases might also be interested the following posts:

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Forensic uses of DNA

December 10, 2010

For the past three years we have been asking second year students to produce a short film on a bioethical topic as an assessed activity. This task allows the students to demonstrate their knowledge in creative ways. I have finally got around to posting some of their films on our own YouTube channel. The first of these focusses on the use of DNA in forensics and as well as the students’ own CSI-style story it also features an interview with Alec Jeffreys. More videos will be posted shortly.


‘An Adventure into Ourselves’ – DNA: The Human Race, Channel 4, 2003

June 17, 2008
 

Sequencing the Human Genome (DNA: The Human Race, Channel 4, 22nd March 2003)

In this, the third of four episodes in Channel 4’s award winning DNA series (first broadcast in 2003), narrator Bernard Hill explores the origins and eventual completion of the Human Genome Project (HGP). Described as the attempt to “catalogue all the genes that carry the instructions to make a human being” (00:00:08), the programme features the majority of the key actors in this scientific and political drama including James Watson, Sir John Sulston, Fred Sanger, Craig Venter, and former US President Bill Clinton. Insofar as the series successfully integrates discussion of the scale and scope of the project in scientific, political and financial terms, it forms an excellent basis for teaching both the science and bioethics of the HGP and large scale sociotechnical projects.

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