4113.0: Tuesday, November 14, 2000: 12:30 PM-2:00 PM

Biotechnology and Public Health

Gene-based technologies are riding a crest of boundless promises: improved and more plentiful food, accurate predictions of personal health and disease, pharmaceuticals tailored to individual specifications, longer life spans, and, when death finally comes, the opportunity to copy ourselves, our loved ones, and even our pets. All of this to be fostered by, and in turn fostering, a thriving global economy that leaves no one out. But, as always, there are critics who do not share this millennial vision. Experts, knowledgeable in genetics, agriculture, medicine, and public health are challenging the scientific basis of such optimistic forecasts. They question the practical and ethical implications of genetic profiling and forecasting and cannot reconcile the excessively individual genetic focus with the mission to improve the public's health. They also raise concerns about the consequences of the intense commercialization of agricultural and medical biotechnology. Meanwhile, the public is becoming concerned about the safety of the food they buy and the efficacy and safety of novel medical tests, procedures, and drugs health care providers offer them. They demand greater openness, more information, and a voice in decisions about the development and implementation of the underlying technologies. While looking at some of the scientific, sociocultural, and economic forces pushing genes into the foreground, this session will examine ethical and practical consequences of genetic reductionism for agriculture and health
See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement.
Learning Objectives: Refer to the individual abstracts for learning objectives
Organizer(s):Ruth Hubbard, PhD
12:30 PMGenetically Engineered Food: Changing the Nature of Nature
Martin Teitel, PhD
12:50 PMThe Clinical Impact of the Human Genome Project
Paul R. Billings, MD, PhD
1:10 PMGenetics, Geneticization and/versus Health Promotion
Abby Lippman, PhD
1:30 PMGenetics, Disability, and Choice
Adrienne Asch, PhD, MS
Cosponsors:Disability Forum; Epidemiology; Socialist Caucus

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA