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SNPs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails, and That's What People Are Made Of

A Case Study on Genome Privacy


Author(s)

Debby Walser-Kuntz
Department of Biology
Carleton College
dwalser@carleton.edu
Sarah Deel
Department of Biology
Carleton College
sdeel@carleton.edu
Susan R. Singer
Department of Biology
Carleton College
ssinger@carleton.edu

Abstract

In this case on genome privacy, students work together to research one of six assigned lobbying groups’ views in this area and then present their groups’ positions before a mock meeting of a U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee as they consider voting on the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. In working through the case, students learn about single nucleotide polymorphisms, common molecular biology techniques, and current legislation governing genome privacy. The case was developed for use in an introductory biology course entitled “Genes, Evolution, and Development.” It could be readily adapted for a genetics or molecular biology course.


Objectives

  • Define the term “SNP” and list three uses of SNP technology.
  • Design an experiment to identify SNPs.
  • Describe a potential privacy issue associated with SNP technology.
  • Explain the current status of genome privacy laws.
  • Apply scientific reasoning skills to an ethical issue in science.
  • Write a letter to your United States Representative for/against passage of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

Keywords

Single nucleotide polymorphism; SNP; genetic privacy; Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act; Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996; HIPAA; bioethics

Topical Areas

Ethics, Legal issues, Policy issues, Social issues, Social justice issues

Educational Level

High school, Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division

Format

PDF

Type / Methods

Analysis (Issues), Public Hearing, Role-Play, Jig-Saw, Student Presentations

Language

English

Subject Headings

Biology (General)  |   Molecular Biology  |   Genetics / Heredity  |   Biotechnology  |   Bioinformatics  |  


Date Posted

09/07/05

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