SAGE Journal Articles
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Learning Objective: 4.1
How does the asset support this Learning Objective? The article discusses various genes that have been found to be associated with maternal nurturing behavior, intelligence, and pair-bonding and monogamy.
Summary: Behavioral genetics has as its goal the discovery of genes that play a significant causal role in complex phenotypes that are socially relevant such a parenting, aggression, psychiatric disorders, intelligence, and even race. In this article, I present the stories of the discoveries of three such important phenotypes: maternal nurturing behavior and the c-fosB gene; intelligence and phenylketonuria (PKU); and pair-bonding and monogamy (vasopressin and oxytocin) and show that the reality is considerably more complex than often portrayed. These accounts also lay bare some fundamental misconceptions of this field in which genes hold a privileged place and inherently subjective phenomena are mistakenly objectified.
Questions to Consider:
- What is the central hypothesis that underlies arguments in the field of behavioral genetics?
- What does the author mean by the mommy gene?
- Why do courts in the United States resist the argument suggesting genetic causes?
Learning Objective: 4.3
How does the asset support this Learning Objective? The article discusses a new approach to prenatal genetic tests – non-invasive prenatal diagnosis (NIPD) that promises diagnosis of fetal genetic disorders from a sample of maternal blood without the miscarriage risk of current invasive prenatal tests.
Summary: Prenatal screening programs have been critiqued for their routine implementation according to clinical rationale without public debate. A new approach, non-invasive prenatal diagnosis (NIPD), promises diagnosis of fetal genetic disorders from a sample of maternal blood without the miscarriage risk of current invasive prenatal tests (e.g. amniocentesis). Little research has investigated the attitudes of wider publics to NIPD. This study used Q-methodology, which combines factor analysis with qualitative comments, to identify four distinct “viewpoints” amongst 71 UK men and women: 1. NIPD as a new tool in the ongoing societal discrimination against the disabled; 2. NIPD as a positive clinical application offering peace of mind in pregnancy; 3. NIPD as a medical option justified for severe disorders only; and 4. NIPD as a valid expansion of personal choice. Concerns included the “trivialization of testing” and the implications of commercial/ direct-to-consumer tests. Q-methodology has considerable potential to identify viewpoints and frame public debate about new technologies.
Questions to Consider:
- What are the benefits of non-invasive prenatal diagnosis (NIPD)?
- Why are commercial and direct-to-consumer opportunities available to those using NIPD?
- What are the public attitudes towards prenatal testing and NIPD?