Short summary of the main point of the article

1 page response paper X7


1. Short summary of the main point of the article (2-3 sentences).

2. List a few social, ethical, and community concerns related to the article (1-2 sentences).

3. At least one question to pose during discussion (1-2 sentences).

Week 1

. Short summary of the main point of the article (2-3 sentences).

2. List a few social, ethical, and community concerns related to the article (1-2 sentences).

3. At least one question to pose during discussion (1-2 sentences). 

For this week’s reading, you may also choose to address the following, if you wish:

1. Provide your interpretation of the art that accompanies the article. How does it relate to the topic?

2. What role do you think science courses (including specifically this course) should play in addressing sensitive topics and social issues?

Week 2

This week, we will read this Vox article about 23andMe:

Here is a video, also from Vox, that elaborates more on the science involved in genetic ancestry testing. This video also may clear up some of the confusion with the science involved in last week’s article. 

Here are some questions to guide your thinking in your response. Remember, feel free to address other topics/parts of the article you find interesting. 

What are the dangers of governments and corporations owning people’s genetic information? Are there any possible benefits?

Should genetics play a role in how we think about identity?


For this week, we will discuss the following article:

“A Study Tried to Use Genetics to Explain Why People are Poor”

Some questions to prompt your thinking. Remember, responding directly to all of these questions is not required, just potentially helpful in sparking your thoughts.

How could the scientists have presented this work differently to mitigate the classist implications?

How should scientists decide what traits to seek out underlying genetic causes for? 


For this week, we will address the recent coronavirus outbreak. However, we will look at it from a different angle, which is how scientists have responded to rapidly produce information about the virus.

Remember, make sure to include the following:

1. Summary (2-3 sentences)

2. Your own, original thought on the issue (2-3 sentences)

3. A question to pose in discussion. 

Some optional questions to spark your thinking:

Do you think the urgency of the situation merits the skipping over the delays involved in vetting scientific publications?

How can scientists prevent hysteria while still sharing work quickly on a high-profile, urgent topic like this?


For this week, we will read “Why Breast Cancer Genes Need to Be Rebranded” from BBC.

The assignment is, as always:

1. Short summary

2. Some of your thoughts

3. A question to pose in discussion

A few optional questions if you’re having a hard time with #2:

Given what we’ve learned about cancer, why does it make sense that a gene is more than just a “breast cancer” gene?

Should everyone be provided genetic testing to assess cancer risk?


This week, we will consider the prospect of CRISPR-edited human babies. This Russian scientist is promoting the technology but isn’t going as far as the much maligned He Jiankui.

Optional questions to spark your thinking:

What are the differences between Rebrikov’s plan and Jiankui’s work?

Is Rebrikov’s justification sufficent to pursue his course of research?

Week10 (Reading is attached in files) 

 Next week, we will do something slightly different for our discussion. As the story of Henrietta Lacks shows us how historically scientists have committed gross ethical violations, I hope we can consider a more optimistic view of the future of biomedical research. For our final discussion, you will take on the role of an IRB, reviewing a major national clinical research study.

This protocol is quite long, and you are not required to read the whole thing – instead, you will each read the introductory material (Sections 1-3), and additional sections assigned by your group. If you were not present at discussion week 9, please pick two additional sections to read. 


& (6) 6 ENROLLMENT 29-38 (9))

Your response paragraph should be formatted as follows.

1. Brief overview of the proposed study – what do the scientists want to do? (1-2 sentences)

2. Brief overview of one of the sections you chose – how are scientists planning to conduct this part ethically (1-2 sentences)?

3. Your thoughts as an IRB member on this section. Would you approve the study? If yes, why, if no, what changes would need to be made? (2-4 sentences)

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