Forensic use of bioinformation

January 7, 2011

Established in 1991, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics has earned a reputation for production of authoritative reports of ethical issues raised by a variety of current and emerging technologies in biomedicine and bioscience.

The quality and depth of analysis of the Nuffield reports means that they are rather too ‘chunky’ for most GCSE and A level students to negotiate. Over the last couple of years the Council’s Reaching Out to Young People committee (of which I am a member) has begun to produce educational resources to offer some of the key curriculum-relevant content of the larger reports in a more teenager-friendly format.

The forensic use of bioinformation resources are derived from the Council’s 2007 report of the same name. The resources include curriculum links, lesson plans, teaching notes, activity sheets, background information and quizzes. We hope you find them useful.


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.


DNA Database – Against Human Rights

December 4, 2008
European Court of Human Rights - Grand Chamber Judgement 4th December 2008 (Press release)

European Court of Human Rights - Grand Chamber Judgement 4th December 2008 (Press release)

On Thursday 4th December 2008 the ‘European Court of Human Rights’ (ECHR) delivered a Grand Chamber judgement in the case of S. and Marper vs. the United Kingdom. They found that when an individual is arrested and has their DNA sample taken but is not subsequently convicted of the crime or is tried and acquitted, the retention of the DNA sample and DNA profile is a violation of Article 8 (Right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Please see Bioethicsbytes ‘Give us your DNA’ – Panorama and the BioethicsBytes Extended Commentary ‘Give us your DNA’ – Panorama.

BioethicsBytes Extended Commentary - 'Give us your DNA' - Panorama

BioethicsBytes Extended Commentary - 'Give us your DNA' - Panorama

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‘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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