The scientific and science policy communities in both Argentina and the U.S. are currently being challenged by three repercussions from the "genomic revolution" in human biology: the rapid commercialization of genome research, the emergence of a new interest in using genetics to achieve public health goals, and the widening use of DNA-identification techniques in the context of law enforcement. The challenges these developments raise, however, are quite different in each country. In the U.S., the marketing of "consumer genomics" directly to the public is the focus of our commercialization concerns; in Argentina, it is the problem of commercially sponsored international research that ignores the local needs of the public. In the U.S., public health genetics ecalls our historical experience with eugenic involuntary sterilization laws and scientific racism; Argentina remembers a fresher eugenic history of discriminatory programs designed to stratify the population by "body-type" and aptitude. All U.S. states now collect DNA from convicted felons for inclusion in a national "DNA fingerprint" database, and discussion focuses on whether to expand that collection to everyone merely arrested or the general population. Meanwhile, Argentina only uses DNA-identification to reunite the offspring of those "disappeared" during the 1980s with their biological families—even after they have grown up in the homes of their "appropriators." This class will compare these differences, and the cultural, historical, and philosophical factors that influence them, in conversation with Argentine students and faculty.
More Course Offerings
- Winter Break 2014
- Spring Break Abroad 2014 courses
- French Connections, a Cross-Cultural Comparison of Medical Ethics-Paris, France
- Public Health in the Netherlands
- Summer 2014
- May Abroad 2014