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Glenn Nichols, surrounded by his hospice team. The author is in yellow.

Genetic Linkage

JIM: More Compelling Than GATTACA

November 24, 2012

Tags: GATTACA, dystopia, genetic engineering, eugenics, science fiction

"Jim" the film is the brilliant brainchild of self-taught filmmaker Jeremy Morris-Burke.
For 15 years, the film GATTACA has been synonymous with “genetic dystopian future,” and has become a mainstay of genetics classrooms. But I’ve found a better film. It’s called, simply, JIM.

I never could connect with GATTACA, the dark tale of an assumed genetic identity in a society where the quality of one’s genome dictates all. Perhaps because in 1997, the pre-genome era, the idea of ordering a DNA test over the Internet was still science fiction. But ironically GATTACA’s “not-too-distant” future, in which a genetically inferior “invalid” impersonates a “valid” to achieve a dream, sets up a too-obvious conflict, with the details and resolution contrived. I know this from years of reading fiction and watching soap operas. (more…)

Summer Reading for Bioethicists: End-of-the-World and Death Books

July 24, 2011

Tags: apocalypse, bioethics, The Taking, The Brief History of the Dead, GATTACA, Brave New World, Death With Interruptions, The Road, Swan Song, science fiction, The Children of Men, The Twilight Zone, The Methuselah Enzyme

Like Alvy Singer, Woody Allen’s character in Annie Hall, I’m obsessed with books about the end of humanity, which sometimes involves the end of the world, and sometimes just that of Homo sapiens. Midsummer is a good time to contemplate how bioethics would come into play in such unlikely scenarios, which raise issues of utilitarianism, justice, paternalism, death and dying, and misuse of technology. (more…)

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Project to engage students in helping families with rare genetic diseases
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Many challenging questions to stimulate thought and discussion.
Instructor's Guide
38 discussion questions to get students thinking and talking about gene therapy, including the science, ethical issues, and the drug approval process.
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The Forever Fix is the uplifting true story of 8-year-old Corey Haas, who was cured of hereditary blindness just 4 days after gene therapy.
College Textbooks
A spectacularly-illustrated, clearly written human anatomy and physiology textbook, used in pre-health profession programs throughout the U.S.
A highly engaging, clearly written, beautifully illustrated introduction to the science of human genetics for the non-scientist. Now in its 11th edition, 12th to be published in September 2018.
Nonfiction
An ideal starting point for anyone who wants to know more about genes, DNA, genomes, and the genetic ties that bind us all.

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