Personal Genetics Workshop

Human GeneticsAs the study of human genetics advances, genetic analysis is becoming a much larger part of healthcare and will impact a number of different areas of society. New techniques are allowing researchers to increasingly understand the connections between genes and human health, with the hope of improving medical care and extending people’s lives. This is happening alongside another movement that seeks to engage the general public with the science of genetics – personal genome analysis. While it is likely that there are many useful or interesting things a person might learn from a personal sequence, the path to truly understanding the utility and limits of this information will likely be a lengthy and sometimes confusing one.

What can an analysis of your DNA reveal about you, your family history, and your health?

What might easy access to information about your genes mean for you and for society as a whole?

PGEDlogo-1-e1368632665626The ability to learn about our genes and how they work has undergone an enormous leap forward in the last 10 years. The Personal Genetics Education Project (pgEd) aims to get people talking about the potential benefits and implications of the fast-approaching world of personal genetics. During this workshop, teachers will gain familiarity with pgEd resources and lessons and learn how to engage middle and high school students on this subject.

Workshop leaders Ting Wu, PhD, director and co-founder of pgEd at Harvard University, and Sarah C.R. Elgin, PhD, Viktor Hamburger professor of Arts & Sciences at Washington University, encourage teachers from all subject areas to attend.

Workshop Highlights:

  • What is Personal Genetics? This lesson introduces personal genome sequencing and presents some of the decisions and ethical challenges an individual may face regarding the use of this technology. It also introduces some of the likely benefits, such as gaining the ability to act on one’s genetic risks, tailoring medicines and interventions, and becoming a more active and engaged healthcare consumer.
  • Debating the Ethical Questions about Genetics and Reproduction This lesson tackles the promising and controversial biotechnology of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), a process in which a single cell is removed from an 8-cell embryo created by in vitro fertilization (IVF) and tested for various genetic traits. PGD is often used to test for fatal childhood cancer and other hereditary fatal childhood diseases.
  • New Developments in Genetics Workshop participants will learn about emerging areas of genetic research that may pique the interest of their students.