By Ruth Schwartz Cowan
The secrets and techniques locked in our genes are being published, and we discover ourselves either enthused and apprehensive approximately what that portends. we glance ahead to curing disorder and assuaging suffering—for our youngsters in addition to for ourselves—but we additionally fear approximately delving too deeply into the double helix. Abuses perpetrated by means of eugenicists—from involuntary sterilization to murder—continue to taint our emotions approximately genetic screening. but, as Ruth Schwartz Cowan finds, smooth genetic screening has been practiced seeing that 1960, reaping rewards hundreds of thousands of girls and kids around the world. She persuasively argues that new types of screening—prenatal, infant, and service testing—are either morally correct and politically applicable. scientific genetics, equipped at the hope of folks and physicians to minimize ache and elevate own freedom, now not at the wish to “improve the human race,” is in truth a completely diversified company from eugenics. Cowan’s narrative strikes from an account of the interwoven histories of genetics and eugenics within the first half the 20th century, to the improvement of recent types of genetic screening after mid-century. It contains illuminating chapters at the frequently misunderstood checking out courses for sickle cellphone anemia, and at the world’s in simple terms mandated premarital screening courses, either one of them at the island of Cyprus. Neither minimizing the trouble of the alternatives that glossy genetics has created for us nor fearing them, Cowan bravely and compassionately argues that we will be able to increase the standard of our personal lives and the lives of our youngsters by utilizing the trendy technology and know-how of genetic screening responsibly. (20080522)
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Additional info for Heredity and Hope: The Case for Genetic Screening
He advocated biochemical testing, not the construction of extensive pedigrees. Toward the end of his life Garrod was invited to a meeting to discuss creating a British Council for Research in Human Genetics, but he declined to attend. “Garrod was not swept off his feet by genetics,” Bearn concludes. ”13 Classical Genetics Another reason why medical genetics failed to coalesce as a discipline in the early decades of the twentieth century was, ironically, that genetics itself was flourishing, drawing the attention of hundreds if not thousands of young investigators, men and a few women with a well-developed sense of where new scientific discoveries, and hence reputations, were likely to be made.
Garrod understood that he had found a new type of etiology, disease by inheritance. By 1902 both men already suspected that albinism, hemophilia, and cystonuria (crystalline sediment in urine, which sometimes forms stones that remain in the bladder) were heritable conditions; by 1909 Garrod had added pentosuria (high levels of the pentose sugars in urine) to the list of illnesses acquired through inheritance. Neither Bateson nor Garrod had much of an interest in the eugenic implications of what we would now call genetic disease.
If the disease resulted from some sort of congenital “‘freak’ of metabolism,” could it also, just possibly, be hereditary? ”5 Garrod did, however, discover one astonishing piece of information, which he reported in 1901. 6 This was the information Garrod was trying to puzzle out, the clue he was trying to follow, when William Bateson came into his life late in the winter of 1901. Just a few years younger than Garrod, Bateson was also the son of a distinguished father. William Henry Bateson had been a classics scholar and the master of St.
Heredity and Hope: The Case for Genetic Screening by Ruth Schwartz Cowan