Science Transcending the Laboratory

         In college, we strategically divide ourselves into specific fields of study, choosing specific majors such as economics, political science, or biology for example. The Nova Special “Cracking the Code of Life” brought up some interesting points that left me astounded at how interconnected these fields of study can be. One poignant example from the show that represents the connection between science and legal issues is that people are attempting to patent certain genes, showing that science transcends the laboratory into the courtroom. However, these two spaces are inherently interconnected. In order to receive a patent, something must be “new and useful,” and scientists are the people equipped with the knowledge to determine if something is new and useful or not.

         The competitive race between the government and private companies to finish the Human Genome Project also represents an interconnection between science, politics, and economics. The Human Genome Project was created by congress, directly connecting the project to National politics. However Celera’s decision to attempt to beat the government brings up complex issues of funding and represents a problematic competition between the government and it’s people.  

         Lastly, the Human Genome Project brought up ethical issues related to politics and economics. This is most notably mentioned in the example where the Icelandic government sold health information to a private company in exchange for a million dollars a year and a share of any profits. I found this startling with regards to ethics because while privacy measures were set in place, citizens were not given the right to choose weather or not their medical information was shared. Therefore, in a way, the government was selling the rights of the people for cash.

         My big take away from this show was that science is never just about science. Rather, various other aspects of life bleed into the field and affect the way in which it operates. As a student currently planning how I want to spend my time in college and dreaming about future careers, this really spoke to me, because it showed how many different professions are related to science.    

-Sarah Miller

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~ by smilller12 on January 10, 2014.

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