Lesson Six: Evaluating Genetic Tests: A Socratic Seminar Discussion

In this lesson, students apply the ethical skills and scientific knowledge they have acquired over the previous lessons to determine (1) whether BRCA1 genetic testing meets the standards of a useful genetic test, or (2) whether direct-to-consumer genetic testing should be subject to additional regulations. Students or teachers may choose from one of two readings, after which students participate in a Socratic Seminar in order to deepen their understanding about genetic testing. Through the seminar discussion of the first reading, students become familiar with a framework for considering genetic tests in terms of their clinical validity and the availability of effective treatment. Through the seminar discussion of the second reading, students become familiar with issues and preliminary data regarding the effects of direct-to-consumer genome-wide screening. After the seminar, students are supported in coming to an individual position about genetic testing through the integration of scientific facts, stakeholder viewpoints, and ethical considerations. In Lesson Six, students learn how bioethicists might use bioinformatics tools in their career.

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