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Discuss Ethical Considerations in Research Into Genetic Influences on Behaviour

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    Substantial body of research > genetic basis for numerous human behaviours. •New genetic techniques > possible to screen genome > lead to predictions of individuals traits & behaviours. •Raises serious ethical issues. Responsibility of Individual Actions. •Possible to identify criminal traits > individuals genome. •Twin adoption studies (Joseph 2001) certain degree of heritability for liability of crime. •Screen for predisposition for criminal behavior. •If succeeded > criminals may be considered ill or in need of treatment > rather than be punished. •Legal system > incentive not to commit crime.

    Extent of social engineering? •Rockfeller University > missing gene is related to increased anxiety in rats. •Possible that different human populations have variations in genetic makeup. •Hassim > 68 Israeli men found that variation in ADH2 gene > role in the way the body metabolises alcohol. •Should parents be able to genetically engineer children. •Is it fair to allow more wealthy people access to this? •What disparities will occur between people. Discrimination. •Controversial study found racial difference in intelligence Jensen (1969) •Might use genetic predispositions against people. For example hiring workers based on intelligence. •Steele and Aaronson > performance tends to be impaired when there is a chance that one will be assessed on a stereotype. •Discrimination in other aspects will become prevalent. •Even more discrimination against certain groups/families in the community even. Selective Breeding. •True belief that behavior has strong genetic basis > may breed humans like we breed animals. •Eugenics > popular in the early 1990s. •For eg. Nazi Germany > became genocide. •Screen embryos for behavioral traits > choose abortion if deemed necessary.

    Confidentiality. •Human genome project > enormous databases on genetic characteristics of individuals. •Who should have the right to access these databases. -insurance companies. -Fiances -Employers •Can we be screened on our genetic makeup? -intelligence. -Proneness for mental illness -Alcoholism. •To what extent will we have the right to privacy in the future? Conclusion. •There are some of the ethical issues that come out of genetic research on behavior > no simple solutions. •However, as long as we are cautious > genetic research may have a positive influence on the welfare

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