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Gene Blues
Dilemmas of DNA Testing

Examines the ethical issues associated with DNA testing.

A printer-friendly version of this page 30 minutes
Directed by Mark Dworkin and Melissa Young
Produced by Moving Images

This outstanding video examines some of the ethical issues associated with DNA testing and sets the stage for a national debate on the ramifications of human gene technology.

As geneticists unlock the DNA code, they learn how differences in the DNA that makes up particular genes are linked to variations in physical traits - from an organism's size to its resistance or susceptibility to disease.

While this knowledge holds promise for alleviating human suffering, DNA testing has presented real problems, including

∑ genetic discrimination in employment and insurance

∑ ethical issues around testing for an incurable genetic disease

∑ issues of privacy and forensics surrounding DNA data banks

∑ prenatal genetic testing with its implications for people with disabilities

∑ genetic indicators being sought to explain everything from obesity to homosexuality.

Then there are the big questions. To what extent should human beings interfere in the basic workings of nature? Are some genes better than others? Who decides what is normal? This video will spark discussion.

This is the second in an ongoing series of educational programs produced by Mark Dworkin and Melissa Young about the risks and benefits of the new biotechnology. The other two to date are Risky Business: Biotechnology and Agriculture and Not for Sale.

Other films by Mark Dworkin and Melissa Young are Net Loss, Another World is Possible, Islas Hermanas, Argentina: Hope in Hard Times, Argentina: Turning Around and Good Food.

Grade Level: 9-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 1997     Copyright Date: 1997
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-431-1     VHS ISBN: 1-56029-715-8

"A brilliant look at the social implications of genetic knowledge."
Sheldon Krimsky, Ph.D., Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy, Tufts University

"An informative, useful teaching tool...a great basis for discussion."
Ruth Hubbard, Ph.D., Professor of Biology, Harvard University

"This is a great video for high school biology, general science, or even social studies classes. It is also suitable for college-level courses...The information is accurate, current, and excellent video and I highly recommend it."
The Science Teacher

"This well-produced overview...serves as a good discussion starter for high-school classes or public library social-issues forums."

"The key is that genetic testing should be debated by the public, not merely by a few 'experts'."

"GENE BLUES offers viewers ages 16 and older with a particularly accessible and even-handed presentation on one of the most pressing medical science issues being nationally debated today. Indeed, not only should GENE BLUES be added to school and community video collections, it should be mandatory viewing for social activists, the medical community, and governmental policy makers as well.

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Gene Blues

"A brilliant look at the social implications of genetic knowledge." Sheldon Krimsky, Tufts University

Links The producers' web site The Council for Responsible Genetics web site
Study guide

Awards and Festivals
Gold Apple, National Educational Media Network Competition
CINE Golden Eagle
Silver Certificate of Merit, Prix Leonardo
Bronze Plaque, Columbus International Film & Video Festival
SciFest, Vancouver

American Studies
Human Rights
Political Science
Public Health

Social Issues
Social Justice
Social Psychology

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... more Reviews

..informed and informative."
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