Cracking Your Genetic Code

Expand/Collapse Cracking Your Genetic Code


What will it mean when most of us can afford to have the information in our DNA—all six billion chemical letters of it—read, stored and available for analysis? NOVA's Cracking Your Genetic Code reveals that we stand on the verge of such a revolution. But what are the moral dilemmas raised by this new technology? Will it help or hurt us to know the diseases that may lie in our future? What if such information falls into the hands of insurance companies, employers or prospective mates? One thing is for certain: the new era of personalized, gene-based medicine is relevant to everyone, and soon you will be choosing whether to join the ranks of the DNA generation.

The media resources below enable educators to present some of the bioethical debates that surround genetic testing.

For additional classroom resources, download media resources and tips to find related resources from NOVA and the Hastings Center, or expert perspectives on gene-based medicine to help clarify your own views about ethical dilemmas.

  • The Costs and Benefits of Treating Gene Defects

    In this video from NOVA, find out how whole genome sequencing saved the life of Alexis, a fraternal twin who was originally diagnosed with cerebral palsy but, in fact, had an even rarer genetic condition.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Ethics of Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis

    This NOVA video explores the advantages, disadvantages, and ethical implications of preimplantation genetic diagnosis.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Should We Screen for Cancer Genes?

    In this video from NOVA, learn about the advantages, disadvantages, and ethical implications of screening for genes associated with diseases, including those linked to breast and ovarian cancers.

    Grades: 9-12
  • From the Cystic Fibrosis Gene to a Drug

    In this video from NOVA, find out how the discovery of a gene defect has led to the development of a new drug to treat patients with cystic fibrosis.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Promise and Perils of Genetic Technologies

    In this media-rich, self-paced lesson, students explore some of the technologies designed to detect and treat inherited diseases and the ethical debate surrounding them.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Ethical Considerations of Personal Genomics

    In this media-rich lesson, students explore some of the ethical, legal, and social issues related to personal genetic testing and genome sequencing.

    Grades: 9-12

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