Genome Generation

Debate current and potential issues in genetics and genomics with this card-based discussion activity.

There are many important personal, social and ethical questions surrounding genetics and genomics. Everyone’s views are different and often there isn’t a simple or definitive answer.

This card-based activity helps you to discuss your views and explore what other people may think. Each discussion is based around the story of people affected by a particular issue. A series of cards guide you through the story and help you to explore different viewpoints. Info cards provide additional scientific facts and statistics to help you understand the topic area fully. Issue cards pose questions that help you to view the issues from different perspectives.

Each of the eight scenarios is fictitious, but all are scientifically accurate. You can explore the following topics:

Scenario 1:  Amy and the breast cancer test

Amy has a family history of breast cancer. There is a chance the BRCA1 mutation associated with cancer, could have been passed to her by her father. Should Amy ask him to take the BRCA1 gene test to find out if he carries it?

Scenario 2: Jill and schizophrenia risk

Jill pays to be genotyped to get a better understanding of her genetics, what she doesn’t know is that the results will show that she has a higher than normal risk of developing schizophrenia. Would you want to know this if you were her?

Scenario 3: Sam and the insurance company (heart disease)

Sam has a family history of heart attacks and his insurance company ask him to be genotyped. Although knowing the results will help him take the right steps for his future health, he is worried it will affect his ability to get insurance. What should he do?

Scenario 4: Heather, her risk for Alzheimer’s and her reluctant twin

Heather wishes to get genotyped before starting a family but her identical twin does not wish to know the results. However, the results show that the twins carry a gene associated with a high risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Should Heather tell her sister?

Scenario 5: Pete’s potential adverse drug reaction

Pete’s doctor would like to prescribe him an antibiotic that can cause serious liver injury. There is a particular genotype that is associated with this adverse reaction and Pete could get tested for it. However, it is expensive and the data could be misused. Should he take the test?

Scenario 6: Should a baby have its genome sequenced?

Expectant parents are asked if they would like to have their child’s genome sequenced after it is born. The information will go onto the child’s ID card. Should they have it done?

Scenario 7: Andy’s unexpected paternity results

Andy is buying a genotyping kit online and decides to buy one for his father. When comparing the results, Andy discovers that his father is not his biological parent. Should he tell his father the results?

Scenario 8: Should researchers share incidental findings?

Lin is a researcher studying childhood development disorders. She finds out one of the children in the study has a mutation associated with a specific cancer, retinoblastoma. Should Lin share the results with the child’s parents? 

Age: 16 years + (GCSE to A Level)

This page was last updated on 2016-06-30