Aug. 4: Human Genome Project (required)

Readings will be posted here. This is also where you will write most forum posts. If you aren't sure which readings are required, just check the schedule.
User avatar
ShawnMiller
Site Admin
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:59 pm
Contact:

Aug. 4: Human Genome Project (required)

Postby ShawnMiller » Thu Jul 30, 2015 2:13 pm

The Human Genome Project, by Lisa Gannet, Web page, PDF file

Read section 2.1 Conceptual Foundations of the Human Genome Project (p. 21 - 46 of the pdf)

Bowen Tan
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2015 5:57 pm

Re: Aug. 4: Human Genome Project

Postby Bowen Tan » Tue Aug 04, 2015 11:44 am

Although HGP sequence and map genes from various individuals, the proper gene can not be regarded as the standard gene from sequencing and mapping. We can never negate environmental factors affecting people, thought someone may attribute this into epigenetic which environmental factors affect people through modifying genes. Once the original genome is given, the outcome depends on the environment we live in. If we live in a drastic environment, a short reproducibility period might be better than longevities, cause it helps get adjusted to the environment quickly.

msnelmida
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2015 1:41 pm

Re: Aug. 4: Human Genome Project

Postby msnelmida » Tue Aug 04, 2015 1:36 pm

Bowen Tan wrote:Although HGP sequence and map genes from various individuals, the proper gene can not be regarded as the standard gene from sequencing and mapping. We can never negate environmental factors affecting people, thought someone may attribute this into epigenetic which environmental factors affect people through modifying genes. Once the original genome is given, the outcome depends on the environment we live in. If we live in a drastic environment, a short reproducibility period might be better than longevities, cause it helps get adjusted to the environment quickly.


If I understand the comment correctly I think epigenetics work differently but the outcomes mentioned is possible under epigenetics but on a smaller scale. Our genetic code will not change under epigenetics as epigenetics in some way only affects the expression of different genes through the accessibility of such gene. Epigenetics affects an individual on a gradual scale or through habitual behavior but like in any other topics in science there can be exceptions due to still missing information. The sharing of similar cultures then may end to similar epigenetic results for each following individual generations (not likely to happen but hypothetically plausible for certain genes). This will then result to the hypothesis that "shorter reprodicibility period might be better than longevities, cause it helps get adjusted to the environment quickly".The question is how short is enough for this to be happen efficiently? The problem is that epigenetics may not be attributed as a mutation as it does not change our gene sequences but only turn it "on" or "off". Also, epigenetics usually takes a long time for certain genes to be turned "on" or "off" thus a very short life span may not be suitable with epigenetics but random mutation can be. This is very interesting! I hope I understand the comment properly and my comment is relevant.

twilliams
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2015 10:36 am

Re: Aug. 4: Human Genome Project

Postby twilliams » Tue Aug 04, 2015 9:44 pm

I was interested in the part where it said the HGP actually undermined genetic determinism, but I could not find anything specific in the reading where it did undermine genetic determinism. Was it just in reference to epigenetics?

Also, with regards to the question of legitimacy in placing blame or punishing people in deterministic understanding of behavior, let's just assume genetic determinism is right (it isn't, but let's assume it is). The only problem we have is understanding our obsolete notion of blame. It does seem wrong to blame someone for something they cannot control, but is it important to blame someone at all? To point a finger at them and tell them they messed up? I don't think it is. That's different than holding someone accountable. We can still use punishment as a means of correcting a la conditioning; whether one is the agent of one's own action is not dependent on punishment as a means to an end. Obviously this cannot apply in situations where one seriously cannot help it (like a genetic disposition towards a personality disorder). For example, you have a child who displays destructive, aggressive behavior because of a genetic disposition. You can't really blame the child, but you can enforce a punishment to help reinforce that such behavior is not acceptable.

JATorres323
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2015 6:31 pm

Re: Aug. 4: Human Genome Project

Postby JATorres323 » Wed Aug 05, 2015 1:03 am

As an English major I couldn't help but point out that I liked this metaphor: "Ignoring genes is like trying to solve a murder without finding the murderer. All we have are victims." On the other hand, I didn't grasp by what is meant when Jaroff writes: "...our fate is in our genes." I think it's possible to change our genes by allowing environmental influences in us, like the way we think, what food we eat, etc., and so hence, what was once our fate can now be changed and so our genes can change fates.

sarahsilverman
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2015 7:59 am

Re: Aug. 4: Human Genome Project

Postby sarahsilverman » Wed Aug 05, 2015 9:35 am

I particularly appreciated the symbolism of the gene as a "cultural icon" brought up in this reading. As we have discussed, we lack even a universal definition of the gene, yet it is perfectly normal to refer to gene's being the cause of some behavior or disposition on the news or in a magazine. It seems possible that the HGP has brought genetics into the public consciousness such that it is now just a metaphor for any trait that is heritable, or just acquired somehow. It would not be out of the ordinary for someone to say colloquially, "He has the math gene," even if there was no evidence that math skills were the result of one or several genes.

Bowen Tan
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2015 5:57 pm

Re: Aug. 4: Human Genome Project

Postby Bowen Tan » Wed Aug 05, 2015 10:09 am

First, a life itself doesn't only contain itself, and things won't end when the life goes dead. The essence of reproduction is to inherit the genes. Second, genes modified through epigenetic mechanism can be inherited by descendants.

msnelmida wrote:
Bowen Tan wrote:Although HGP sequence and map genes from various individuals, the proper gene can not be regarded as the standard gene from sequencing and mapping. We can never negate environmental factors affecting people, thought someone may attribute this into epigenetic which environmental factors affect people through modifying genes. Once the original genome is given, the outcome depends on the environment we live in. If we live in a drastic environment, a short reproducibility period might be better than longevities, cause it helps get adjusted to the environment quickly.


If I understand the comment correctly I think epigenetics work differently but the outcomes mentioned is possible under epigenetics but on a smaller scale. Our genetic code will not change under epigenetics as epigenetics in some way only affects the expression of different genes through the accessibility of such gene. Epigenetics affects an individual on a gradual scale or through habitual behavior but like in any other topics in science there can be exceptions due to still missing information. The sharing of similar cultures then may end to similar epigenetic results for each following individual generations (not likely to happen but hypothetically plausible for certain genes). This will then result to the hypothesis that "shorter reprodicibility period might be better than longevities, cause it helps get adjusted to the environment quickly".The question is how short is enough for this to be happen efficiently? The problem is that epigenetics may not be attributed as a mutation as it does not change our gene sequences but only turn it "on" or "off". Also, epigenetics usually takes a long time for certain genes to be turned "on" or "off" thus a very short life span may not be suitable with epigenetics but random mutation can be. This is very interesting! I hope I understand the comment properly and my comment is relevant.

lemacias
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2015 9:04 pm

Re: Aug. 4: Human Genome Project

Postby lemacias » Wed Aug 05, 2015 11:47 am

This reading reminded me of what Richard Dawkins said in the broadcast on BBC radio: "In spite of the advances, there have been some surprises and deepened mysteries. one of the greatest shocks was the finding that we have far fewer genes than scientists had assumed before they read out our genetic instructions. it takes no more genes to make a person than it does to make a simple microscopic worm. What makes a man different from a worm lies more in what researchers now calling the Dark Matter of the genome- 300 million letters of genetic code which work in currently mysterious ways". I guess this is what resonates more in my mind, the fact that, as Leon Kass said, what the HGP brings is also the idea that humans are not longer contemplated as dignified, godlike among all the creatures and might be merely reduced to no less than of nature and that we can finally see that we are all interconnected with all life forms - not above them.

User avatar
ShawnMiller
Site Admin
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:59 pm
Contact:

Re: Aug. 4: Human Genome Project

Postby ShawnMiller » Wed Aug 05, 2015 12:16 pm

lemacias wrote:This reading reminded me of what Richard Dawkins said in the broadcast on BBC radio: "In spite of the advances, there have been some surprises and deepened mysteries. one of the greatest shocks was the finding that we have far fewer genes than scientists had assumed before they read out our genetic instructions. it takes no more genes to make a person than it does to make a simple microscopic worm. What makes a man different from a worm lies more in what researchers now calling the Dark Matter of the genome- 300 million letters of genetic code which work in currently mysterious ways".


Something this brings to mind for me is the manner in which numerical magnitude of genes is typically equated with greater complexity, and since these two things don't track that may signal that the nature of the gene is more complex (or different or something) than we suppose.

User avatar
ShawnMiller
Site Admin
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:59 pm
Contact:

Re: Aug. 4: Human Genome Project

Postby ShawnMiller » Wed Aug 05, 2015 12:26 pm

sarahsilverman wrote:I particularly appreciated the symbolism of the gene as a "cultural icon" brought up in this reading. As we have discussed, we lack even a universal definition of the gene, yet it is perfectly normal to refer to gene's being the cause of some behavior or disposition on the news or in a magazine. It seems possible that the HGP has brought genetics into the public consciousness such that it is now just a metaphor for any trait that is heritable, or just acquired somehow. It would not be out of the ordinary for someone to say colloquially, "He has the math gene," even if there was no evidence that math skills were the result of one or several genes.

This raises the further question of whether non-literally uses of the term 'gene' -- i.e., ones that aren't meant to directly refer to specific sequences of genetic material -- are recognized as such. In other words, does the public know that the term 'gene' is being used metaphorically? How do we know when 'gene' means something technical or specific and when it is used in a looser sense? Being able to tell these apart is important for evaluating claims made about genes.

nyonan
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2015 11:47 am

Re: Aug. 4: Human Genome Project

Postby nyonan » Wed Aug 05, 2015 12:30 pm

sarahsilverman wrote:I particularly appreciated the symbolism of the gene as a "cultural icon" brought up in this reading. As we have discussed, we lack even a universal definition of the gene, yet it is perfectly normal to refer to gene's being the cause of some behavior or disposition on the news or in a magazine. It seems possible that the HGP has brought genetics into the public consciousness such that it is now just a metaphor for any trait that is heritable, or just acquired somehow. It would not be out of the ordinary for someone to say colloquially, "He has the math gene," even if there was no evidence that math skills were the result of one or several genes.


I thought about how it is a cultural icon and how many do believe that genes may be or are the only driving force behind behavior. That has been a philosophical debate since the idea of "nature vs nurture" and makes me think that with the advances in technology and mapping of the human genome, we may be able to test if we can create a "personality". It would spark a whole flow of thoughts such as the idea of free will or if we are just "destined" for certain behaviors and lifestyles by the genes we posses.

eridolfi
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2015 1:07 pm

Re: Aug. 4: Human Genome Project

Postby eridolfi » Wed Aug 05, 2015 1:51 pm

I still am struggling in regards to the proper definition to the word "gene" and whether there is one definition or many definitions. What happens when technical words become part of the everyway lexicon and their definition changes. What issues arise from this?

User avatar
ShawnMiller
Site Admin
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:59 pm
Contact:

Re: Aug. 4: Human Genome Project

Postby ShawnMiller » Wed Aug 05, 2015 1:59 pm

eridolfi wrote:I still am struggling in regards to the proper definition to the word "gene" and whether there is one definition or many definitions. What happens when technical words become part of the everyway lexicon and their definition changes. What issues arise from this?

This is a topic we can explore in more depth in the course. However, to this point we have not established a single definition of gene, and the Gannett HGP reading indicates that scientists use the term in multiple ways. What sorts of issues do you think this might raise?

kgbaidoo
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2015 4:56 pm

Re: Aug. 4: Human Genome Project

Postby kgbaidoo » Sun Aug 09, 2015 11:09 am

I am very happy with how far the human genome project had come.

kgbaidoo
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2015 4:56 pm

Re: Aug. 4: Human Genome Project

Postby kgbaidoo » Sun Aug 09, 2015 11:12 am

I am very happy with how far the human genome project had come.It just amazes me how scientists are able to cure diseases and solve problems of hunmanity based on the informtion in our genome.I just hope they will one day find the gene that causes aging so they do something about it.I think that will be very inetersting.

User avatar
KelseyBS
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2015 5:56 pm

Re: Aug. 4: Human Genome Project

Postby KelseyBS » Sun Aug 09, 2015 3:52 pm

I love the attention to genetics the HGP has brought to the public and science communities, but I'm not too fond of the black and white views it seems to have created. Many people seem to believe that either genes or your upbringing form who you are and how you act. I have no experience and very little education in the field, but my initial comprehension of the genetic role in our lives is that it gives us a potential range of behavior while our environment will pinpoint where we actually fall on this range.

User avatar
ShawnMiller
Site Admin
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:59 pm
Contact:

Re: Aug. 4: Human Genome Project

Postby ShawnMiller » Sun Aug 09, 2015 4:16 pm

KelseyBS wrote:I love the attention to genetics the HGP has brought to the public and science communities, but I'm not too fond of the black and white views it seems to have created. Many people seem to believe that either genes or your upbringing form who you are and how you act. I have no experience and very little education in the field, but my initial comprehension of the genetic role in our lives is that it gives us a potential range of behavior while our environment will pinpoint where we actually fall on this range.

One goal of this class is to delve into the complexity of the relationship between genes and environment and/or to show that the dividing line can be murky. For in the same way that the black and white answer that it's either genes or the environment that is the cause of X isn't helpful, saying that it's both doesn't in itself advance our understanding much, either. So in the case of genes determining a range of behavior, how do we know how wide a range is possible? And in what sense can we say that that range of possibilities is contained in our genes? A possibility, after all, is something that doesn't actually exist yet. What does it mean for a material object (DNA) to contain a non-material thing (a possibility or potential)?

fdtran
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2015 5:49 pm

Re: Aug. 4: Human Genome Project (required)

Postby fdtran » Sun Aug 09, 2015 10:02 pm

In the reading and in our class discussion, both referenced the idea that most of what we and who we are are predetermined by our genes. This also leads to discussion of the interactions between our genes and our environment. While our genes do certainly shape our physical characteristics, I think many of us find it unsettling to think that our genes may play a bigger role in who we are as individuals. Do my own individual actions significantly shape who I am and to what extent?

msnelmida
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2015 1:41 pm

Re: Aug. 4: Human Genome Project (required)

Postby msnelmida » Sun Aug 09, 2015 11:12 pm

In one way I think the HGP did help us understand how complex our biology is and through that understanding we can say that our learning of such topics are increasing exponentially at higher rate than before shown by how fast we can now sequence one's DNA and how less pricey it becomes. Also, on topic of what makes us who we are is either the environment or our genetic code is a hard topic to find an answer as both can indicate the type of individual one is. How one can say that a person that lived half of his life in a completely different culture and climate have certain qualities because of his genes but not of the current culture and climate that individual living in? One can be outgoing in a tropical climate with tropical plants around but not in other places because of pollen allergies due to a typical local plant and climate but then again that allergy is a result of genetics.

dianalee
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2015 8:39 pm

Re: Aug. 4: Human Genome Project (required)

Postby dianalee » Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:28 am

What assumption can we make from something we cannot philosophically proven or agree upon? HGP is a platform to many upcoming researches. Once we understand all the functions and structures, would everyone wants to know everything about their genetic make up including medical issues and diseases?

uwogisele
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2015 11:50 am

Re: Aug. 4: Human Genome Project (required)

Postby uwogisele » Mon Aug 10, 2015 8:55 am

We have big steps in understanding the human genome. But we still have a long way to go as well. It was interesting to read and think through the process of the human genome project. All the setbacks it had to go through and how it came to pass. What I most liked about our discussion of this read is thinking through what the scientists took as "their baseline" as they were sequencing the human genome.

SamGarcia25
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2015 10:17 am

Re: Aug. 4: Human Genome Project (required)

Postby SamGarcia25 » Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:07 pm

After reading this article, it seems as if defining the gene outside of context has proven difficult for scientific professionals and philosophers due to the newly acquired knowledge they keep learning about the human genome. Does anyone have an idea for a generic but useful definition that could encompass all contexts and future knowledge gained about the genome?

eugenekim
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2015 6:59 pm

Re: Aug. 4: Human Genome Project (required)

Postby eugenekim » Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:27 pm

As the article states, its evident that we have a genome close to each other ( the similarity is roughly 99.5%) and one close to other animals as well; however, as we gather knowledge about genomes in general, a moral issues arises. If genomes are responsible for the actions of humans, things such as committing a crime would not be a fault of human actions, but rather because of genetic disposition. Moreover, if genomes are found to hold this magnanimous effect on humans, should we be concerned about stereotyping and potential racism that might arise such as insurance companies who may use this information in an unethical manner.

pattyt
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2015 12:00 pm

Re: Aug. 4: Human Genome Project (required)

Postby pattyt » Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:42 pm

It was interesting to read how scientists and philosophers use "genes"so loosely, but the vagueness of genes is part of what makes the study of genes important. However, what will the discovery of a generic code really mean? Will it be easily accessibility knowledge that can be used by anyone, or will if be privatized information? A known code may bring up many issues in the everyday world. It could be used for purposes not originally intended leaving the question of how much information the public should have and who gets to decide that.

jjquintanilla
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2015 1:18 am

Re: Aug. 4: Human Genome Project (required)

Postby jjquintanilla » Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:48 pm

I think the that the ethical background behind the HGP is caught in a battle or a field of conflict between different groups of people from different backgrounds. One of thing behind this, perhaps when dealing with religion, comes the question or the notion of "playing god" which many may feel that the HGP will bring about. Although I personally feel that the HGP brings about positive change or a bright outlook, there are perhaps those who feel different about it. Secondly, I feel that when this article mentions how the HG was sequenced, I feel that it is important to ask whose DNA was sequenced or how many people participated in the study. Regardless of this, I feel that the HGP set the foundation of what modern genetics is all about and also I feel that it brings out the true nature of the Philosophy of science in the sense that we now have the capacity to know our own genetic make up, which brings about this Philosophical statement of "Know thyself" as presented by Socrates many centuries ago.

pattyt
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2015 12:00 pm

Re: Aug. 4: Human Genome Project

Postby pattyt » Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:55 pm

[quote=
"lemacias"]This reading reminded me of what Richard Dawkins said in the broadcast on BBC radio: "In spite of the advances, there have been some surprises and deepened mysteries. one of the greatest shocks was the finding that we have far fewer genes than scientists had assumed before they read out our genetic instructions. it takes no more genes to make a person than it does to make a simple microscopic worm. What makes a man different from a worm lies more in what researchers now calling the Dark Matter of the genome- 300 million letters of genetic code which work in currently mysterious ways". I guess this is what resonates more in my mind, the fact that, as Leon Kass said, what the HGP brings is also the idea that humans are not longer contemplated as dignified, godlike among all the creatures and might be merely reduced to no less than of nature and that we can finally see that we are all interconnected with all life forms - not above them.


I agree with this idea, but what this also brings to mind is the connection of genes and the terms used to other fields. Dark matter is a term I would more likely relate to astronomy. The fact that we use metaphoric terms illustrates in a sense the ambiguity of genes. We know little about them and use terms that are well known in order to help us understand. As stated in "lemacias"'s quote, the HGP allows an interconnection with other living creatures, but through the metaphors we use, I believe we try to make a connection with other things. Metaphors not only allow us to express what we mean in a more understandable way but also to make a connection with other things.


Return to “Readings”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest