Morality and the Human Genome Project

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Morality and the Human Genome Project

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, "research

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...