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Genetic Crossroads
January 27th, 2006

"Love You, K2a2a, Whoever You Are,"New York Times (January 22)
New inexpensive genetic tests for the home are raising troubling questions: "But will our genetic identity undermine our cultural identity? The tests can add depth to what we have long believed, but they can also challenge our conception of who we are. The trauma some experience when their tests conflict with what they have always believed to be true has prompted some researchers to call for counseling to accompany the results.... Some anthropologists worry that what they call the 'geneticization of identity' could lead to a dangerous view of race and ethnicity as biologically based."

"Are you my sperm donor?,"New York Times (January 20)
"Largely unregulated, fertility clinics have long operated under the assumption that preserving anonymity is best for all parties. But as the stigma of infertility fades, the secrecy of the process is coming under attack... With ever more exotic reproductive technologies looming, like cloning and the engineering of traits like eye color and intelligence, some advocates for more regulation say there is a growing urgency to protect these children from what they call 'genetic bewilderment.'"

"India's 'girl deficit' deepest among educated,"Christian Science Monitor (January 13)
"Banned by Indian law for more than a decade, the practice of prenatal selection and selective abortion remains a common practice in India, claiming up to half a million female children each year, according to a recent study by the British medical journal, The Lancet....The practice...appears to be most common among educated women, a fact that befuddles public health officials and women's rights activists alike."

Opinion: "Select one: a boy or a girl?,"Newsday (January 3)
Ellen M. McGee, past director of the Long Island Center for Ethics at Long Island University, writes: "Choosing so fundamental a characteristic as gender has the potential to radically alter the relationship of parent to child, and to make the child more of a consumer product whose existence depends on satisfying the parents' needs. The trial at Baylor Medical School, unfortunately, will not help illuminate these concerns;"

"In a first, New Jersey awards stem-cell grants,"Philadelphia Inquirer (December 17, 2005)
New Jersey "became the first in the nation...to fund stem-cell research...made possible by a $5 million allocation in the $28 billion state budget that acting Gov. Richard J. Codey signed in July....The State Senate approved legislation...that would place a $350 million bond referendum for...grants on the ballot."


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