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A Right to Her Genes



Co Authors:

Susannah Gal
Department of Biological Sciences
Penn State Harrisburg
sjg5538@psu.edu

Jessie W. Klein
Department of Mathematics and Science
Middlesex Community College
kleinj@middlesex.mass.edu

Abstract:

In this true story, students examine the case of a woman with a family predisposition to cancer who is considering genetic testing. Students learn about various aspects of DNA testing and determine how to counsel the woman. The case was designed for an advanced undergraduate molecular biology course but could be modified for an introductory biology, genetics, or ethics classes.

Objectives:
  • Become aware of the ability to detect mutations associated with cancer.
  • Consider the ethical concerns related to DNA testing.
  • Understand the scientific techniques useful for analyzing DNA mutations in people.
  • Become aware of the scientific limitations of our understanding of DNA sequence changes in human genes.
  • Become aware of alternative career paths, including working as a genetic counselor, doing laboratory research on cancer genes, designing drugs at pharmaceutical companies.
Keywords: Breast cancer; ovarian cancer; genetic testing; genetic counseling; genes; DNA; BRCA1; oophorectomy; mastectomy; bioethics
Topical Area: Ethics
Educational Level: Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Dilemma/Decision, Role-Play, Jig-Saw
Language: English
Subject Headings: Molecular Biology   Genetics / Heredity   Biology (General)  
Date Posted: 03/03/00
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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