It’s boom time for genetics – is that good for us?

a genome map
A genome map. Can it be read like a crystal ball?

It’s boom time for consumer genetic testing with the whole world and her dog getting it done.   If it’s only a bit of fun, where is the harm in that?

The reach of genetics is expanding and its influence is powerful. It is already established in our health and medical wellbeing. Whatever will be next?

The new genetics could influence our our sense of identity and our attitudes to education. It will lead us to question our understanding of diversity, including race and gender. 

History shows that genetics’ attempts to do this in the past have largely been unsuccessful and sometimes dangerous. How can we make sure that the future is different to the past?

What impact should advances in genetics have on our lives, the lives of our families and on our communities?

How should we plan so that we can reap its benefits, whilst being protected from its dangers?

Can the new genetics affect how we see ourselves in the world?

This blog tries to give us some tools for thinking, so that we can develop rational attitudes and make considered decisions for the welfare of ourselves and our society.

The blog is being written as I prepare to teach a unit on Genetics, Society and Education in the School of Education in the University of Bristol, England, during 2021. I will post here as often as I can.

I will send notifications of updates on Twitter using @NeilIngram1, using the hash tag: #geneticssocietyeducation. There is also a subscription box on the sidebar, if you prefer email notifications.

If you are interested in this subject, then come along and join in the conversation.

Neil Ingram, Bristol, 29/12/19, updated 10/12/20