Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 32 (4):663-687 (2001)
|Abstract||There is extensive discussion of the ethical, social, economic and political issues associated with the use of technologies based on DNA techniques. Many of these debates are premised on the assumption that DNA, and the genetic information that may be derived from it, have unique features which raise new social and ethical issues. In this paper it is argued that several of the features associated with DNA which are sometimes regarded as unique are shared with other biological materials. Others owe more to the cultural image of DNA and some of the metaphors used to discuss it in biology and in wider debates than to the biological properties of DNA. The paper discusses the concepts of genetic material and genetic information and the social construction of DNA in relation to forensic DNA databases, paternity testing and genetic testing for disease. The paper concludes by suggesting that there are seven areas where issues related to DNA and genetic information are at least relatively distinct.|
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