Morality and the Human Genome Project MWF 11:00 Bibliography Congress of the United States, Office of Technology Assessment, Mapping Our Genes: Genome Projects: How Big, How Fast?, Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore,1988. Gert, Bernard, Morality and the New Genetics: A Guide for Students and Health Care Providers, Jones and Bartlett: Sudbury, Massachusetts,1996. Lee, Thomas F., The Human Genome Project: Cracking the Genetic Code of Life, Plenum Press: New York, 1991. Murphy, Timothy F., and Lappe, Marc, ed., Justice and the Human Genome Project, University of California Press: Berkeley, 1994. Does the Human Genome Project affect the moral standards of society? Can the information produced by it become a beneficial asset or a moral evil? For example, in a genetic race or class distinction the use of the X chromosome markers can be used for the identification of a persons ethnicity or class (Murphy,34). A seemingly harmless collection of information from the advancement of the Human Genome Project. But, lets assume this information is used to explore ways to deny entry into countries, determine social class, or even who gets preferential treatment. Can the outcome of this information effect the moral standards of a society? The answers to the above and many other questions are relative to the issues facing the Human Genome Project. To better understand these topics a careful dissection of the terminology must be made. Websters Dictionary defines morality as ethics, upright conduct, conduct or attitude judged from the moral standpoint. It also defines a moral as concerned with right and wrong and the distinctions between them. A Genome is "the total of an individuals genetic material," including, "that part of the cell that controls heredity" (Lee,4). Subsequently, "reasearch and technology efforts aimed at mapping and sequencing large portions or entire genomes are called genome projects" (Congress,4). Genome projects are not a single organizations efforts, but instead a group of organizations working in government and private industry through out the world. Furthermore, the controversies surrounding the Human Genome Project can be better explained by the past events leading to the project, the structure of the project, and the moral discussion of the project. The major events of genetic history are important to the Human Genome Project because the structure and most of the project deals with genetics. Genetics is the study of the patterns of inheritance of specific traits (Congress,202). The basic beginnings of genetic history lay in the ancient techniques of selective breeding to yield special characteristics in later generations. This was and still is a form of genetic manipulation by "employing appropriate selection for physical and behavioral traits" (Gert,2). Futheralong, the work of Gregor Mendel, an Austrian monk, on garden peas established the quantitative discipline of genetics. Mendel's work explained the inheritance of traits can be stated by factors passed from one generation to the next; a gene. The complete set of genes for an organism is called it's genome (Congress,3). These traits can be explained due to the inheritance of single or multiple genes affected by factors in the environment (3). Mendel also correctly stated that two copies of every factor exists and that one factor of inheritance could be dominate over another (Gert,3).The next major events of genetic history involved DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). DNA, as a part of genes, was discovered to be a double helix that encodes the blueprints for all living things (Congress,3). DNA was found to be packed into chromosomes, of which 23 pairs existed in each cell of the human body. Furthermore, one chromosome of each pair is donated from each parent. DNA was also found to be made of nucleotide chains made of four bases, commonly represented by A, C, T, and G. Any ordered pair of bases makes a sequence. These sequences are the instructions that produce molecules, proteins, for cellular structure and biochemical functions. In relation, a marker is any location on a chromosome where inheritance can be identified and tracked (202). Markers can be expressed areas of genes (DNA) or some segment of DNA with no known coding function but an inheritance could be traced (3). It is these markers that are used to do genetic mapping. By the use of genetic mapping isolated areas of DNA are used to find if a person has a specific trait, inherent