The Genetic Revolution and the Meaning of Life: How Will Society Respond to the Explosion of Knowledge?
A Congressional Briefing
Friday, June 7, 2002
8:3O -- 10:30 a.m.
B-340 Rayburn House Office Building
Science and technology are advancing faster than society’s ability to understand and cope with new discoveries. These sweeping advances in scientific and medical knowledge have also fostered changes in our social and cultural landscape. As a result, the current explosion of information and its social implications confront individuals and society with a complex array of challenges.
At the forefront of this knowledge revolution are the rapid advances being made in genetics. In 2001, the National Human Genome Research Institute completed a working draft of the DNA sequence of the human genome, a milestone in the never-ending pursuit to better understand ourselves and the wonder of life. The completion of the Human Genome Project is expected to comprise one of the most powerful and direct approaches to the study of a wide range of biological questions. It will allow researchers to identify genetic contributions to many common disease and disorders, such as diabetes, heart disease, and some forms of cancer. But in order to realize that potential, the accompanying ethical, legal, and social implications must be addressed. How will individuals, health professionals, and policy makers interpret, understand, and use the findings of this research? How will society react to information suggesting the possibility of group differences with respect to individual genetic risk for common, complex disorders? Three distinguished scientists will address some of the issues and concerns associated with this rapid increase in knowledge for society.
Troy Duster, Professor of Sociology, New York University, and Director, American Cultures Center, University of California at Berkeley -- The Intersection of Molecular Genetics, Race, and Criminal Justice
Dorothy Nelkin, Professor of Law and Professor of Sociology, New York University -- Emerging Legal and Social Issues In the Genetic Age
Susan Weller, Professor, Division of Sociomedical Sciences, Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health, University of Texas Medical Branch -- The Intra and Inter-Cultural Variation in Medical Beliefs
Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA)
(with generous support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation)
Positive RSVPs only by June 5 to COSSA at email@example.com
or 202/842-3525 or 202/842-2788 (FAX)
(A continental breakfast will be served.)