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Who isn’t curious about what our genes can tell us? Jews are among the best customers for direct-to-consumer genetic tests and their packaged analysis. Are they useful, or confusing?
We also have well-studied mutations for certain diseases, owing to our ancestors having lived and married in tight-knit communities.
When is it advisable for us to seek medical genetic testing? What is the genetics counselor’s role? If we do find that we carry a “bad” gene, what’s next? Should we fear the potential for discrimination against us individually and as a people from all this genomic disclosure?
From a wider lens, how do the frontiers of genetic science intersect with bioethics and Jewish standards? And might the discovery of our genetic information and lineage confound our understanding of Jewish identity?
These and other probing questions will be explored by two experts in their respective fields:
Laurie Zoloth, Ph.D., is the Margaret E. Burton Professor of Religion and Ethics and Senior Advisor to the Provost for Social Ethics, at the University of Chicago. She is a bioethicist and co-editor with Rabbi Dr. Elliot N. Dorff, of Jews and Genes: The Genetic Future in Contemporary Jewish Thought.
Faye Shapiro, M.S., Certified Genetics Counselor, is associated with Cooper Hill Hospital, Camden, N.J. , and is a member of the Sisterhood of Congregation Beth El, Vorhees, N.J.
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