Please read all instructions before beginning the assignment so you do not miss any grading components. The completed tutorial should be posted no later than NOON on Sunday November 20th. Analytical Summaries – For this assignment, you will compose two short critical essays explaining and evaluating arguments by other authors. This assignment allows you to analyze an issue from a variety of perspectives and assess arguments for or against the issue. By focusing your attention on how the original authors use evidence and reasoning to construct and support their positions, you can recognize the value of critical thinking in public discourse.Compare the language used to depict direct experimentation, after-the-fact evidence, and values questions.
Article 1 Predictive Probes by Jerry E. Bishop Several years ago, Nancy Wexler’s mother died of Huntington’s disease, a hereditary and always-fatal affliction that strikes in midlife. Since then, Ms. Wexler, the 38-year-old president of the Hereditary Diseases Foundation in Santa Monica, Calif. , has lived with the uncertainty of whether she, too, inherited the deadly gene. That uncertainty may soon be resolved.A few months ago, scientists announced they were on the verge of completing a new test to detect the gene for Huntington’s disease (formerly called Huntington’s chorea).
Analytical Summaries Essay Example
But deciding whether to submit herself to the test is an anguishing choice for Ms. Wexler. “If I came out lucky, taking the test would be terrific, of course,” she says. “But if I came out unlucky, well …” Her dilemma is an extreme example of the kind thousands of Americans will face in the not-too-distant future as scientists learn how to pinpoint genes that cause or predispose a person to a future illness.The test to detect the Huntington’s disease gene should be ready within one to two years. Researchers already have detected some of the genes that can lead to premature heart attacks and, in the near future, hope to spot those that could predispose a person to breast or colon cancer. Eventually, scientists believe they will be able to detect genes leading to diabetes, depression, schizophrenia and the premature senility called Alzheimer’s disease.
“Extraordinary Power. ” “This new technology has an extraordinary power to predict any disease where there is any kind of genetic influence,” Ms.Wexler says. “Instead of looking in a crystal ball to see your future, you’ll look in your genes. ” Doctors long have been able to crudely predict a person’s future illness. By studying disease patterns, for example, they can say that heavy cigarette smokers have 10 times the risk of developing lung cancer as nonsmokers and that middle-aged men with high blood cholesterol levels have higher-than-normal risk of heart attacks. Geneticists also look at family medical pedigrees to determine the chances of children inheriting any of the 3,000 known genetic disorders.
But such predictions are similar to casino odds. Doctors can’t predict which smokers will actually develop lung cancer, which individual will have a premature heart attack or which child actually inherited a defective gene. Genetic probes, however, will change predictive medicine. The probes are synthetic versions of genes that cause disease. Tossed into a test tube with a small sample of a person’s own genetic material—his DNA—the probes cling to and identify their natural counterparts. “Raft of Questions. ”Proponents of predictive medicine cite its potentially tremendous benefit in that it will allow, in some instances, people to take preventive measures to ward off certain illnesses.
“But it also raises a raft of questions on almost every level—social, psychological, personal, legal and ethical,” says Ms. Wexler, a psychologist who has specialized in the problems of victims of genetic diseases. Such problems range from how and when to tell a seemingly healthy person he or she has a gene for a possibly fatal disease to whether employers, insurance companies, or even the government should know a person carries such a gene.Nowhere are the social and ethical questions surrounding genetic probes more apparent than in the case of Huntington’s disease. Although the disease is caused by inheritance of a mutant gene, the symptoms usually don’t show up until between ages 30 and 50. The disease is characterized by slow but steady mental deterioration that begins with moodiness and ends fatally with severe mental illness. One tragedy is that carriers of the fatal gene often don’t know their condition before having children of their own.
Children whose parents are known carriers grow up haunted by the 50% probability that they, too, carry the gene.Late last year, however, a team of scientists from several institutions reported making a breakthrough that will lead to a test for the Huntington’s disease gene. With the aid of experimental genetic probes, James F. Gusella, a doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital, and his colleagues studied the genes of 135 members of a large family in Venezuela that is plagued by Huntington’s disease. While the team didn’t find the gene itself, they did discover an unusual genetic variation that seems to accompany the mysterious gene when it is passed along.Hence, it might serve as a “marker” for the Huntington disease gene. Preparing for Problems.
Dr. Gusella and Integrated Genetics, Inc. , a small biotechnology company he works with, are sifting through genes of Huntington’s-disease families looking for a second genetic marker, which would make the test more than 99% accurate. They then must confirm the mutant gene as the only cause of Huntington’s disease, meaning the test probably won’t be available for a year or two. Researchers, however, already are preparing for problems the test will create.