HISTSCI 136 Study Guide - Final Guide: Gene Knockout, Roslin Institute, National Institutes Of Health

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26 Jun 2018
Professor
11/30/2016
James Shecter
HS136
Final Exam Study Guide v2
1. Choose one example discussed in class or the readings in which legal expertise intersects
with scientific expertise. Summarize the case and then analyze how the competing aims of
science and the law shape the status of scientific facts or evidence in your examples. For
example, are biological concepts (of kinship, property, identity) reconfigured in your
example? How is scientific authority and validity constructed or deployed to ground legal
arguments?
THESIS: As evidenced in the Buzzanca v. Buzzanca (1998) case, assistive reproductive
technologies have reconfigured
The biological concepts of kinship are reconstructed by the legal decision that
parentage is a social choice and therefore the biotechnological or natural means
by which a child is brought into the world are insignificant allowing for the science
behind IVF and surrogacy to ground the legal decision. In this case, parenthood,
and fatherhood in particular, were established by actions and intention rather
than genetic contribution.
Biological concepts of kinship are reconstructed by the legal decision that parentage is a
social choice (INTENTIONALITY) and therefore biotech/natural means by which a child
is borne are less significant. Parenthood established by actions and intention rather than
genetic contribution
2. Read the Supreme Court ruling on Maryland v. King (2013). On the basis of what you
have learned and read about genomic sequencing and databasing, draft a dissenting
opinion
THESIS: While the primary purpose of DNA testing may be to discover evidence of
criminal wrongdoing, the negative repercussions of permitting it at the federal level
outweigh the plausible benefits.
oDespite the fact that arrestees have an inherently diminished expectation of
privacy, cross-checking their DNA samples without individualized suspicion for
crimes is an egregious invasion of privacy – the exact kind of privacy the 4th
amendment was designed to protect.
Case Summary
oMaryland DNA Collection Act (MDCA) allows state/local officers to collect
DNA samples from individuals arrested for crimes of violence
oAlonzo King arrested on assault charge; his DNA was collected and logged in
MD database, which matched his DNA to sample from unsolved rape case in ’03
Trial Judge denied King’s motion to suppress DNA evidence (since he
was not arrested for suspicion of rape/no search warrant); was
convicted of rape and sentenced to life in prison
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oAppeal: MDCA was unconstitutional infringement of 4th amendment right against
warrantless searches  MD appeals court reversed decision in King’s favor,
holding that his expectation of privacy was greater than MD’s interest in using
DNA for identification purposes
Constitutional issues
o4th amendment list “persons” first among entities protected against unreasonable
searches and seizures
oNo matter the degree of invasiveness, suspicion-less searches are never allowed
Segue: negative repercussions of DNA database
oCODIS database  lacks putative objectivity; skewed with respect to ethnicity,
class, gender
Biosocial oppression: men and people of color are more likely to be
stopped by police  disproportionate representation of society in database
reinforcement of systemic racism and structural inequality at the
molecular level
Disposing samples never occurs
oConsent & Privacy: DNA databasing lacks putative objectivity
DNA testing provides info not just about the suspect himself, but also
includes his family’s genetic makeup/medical predispositions/etc.
Comparison to fingerprinting is farcical because fingerprints don’t reveal
nearly as much info
As geneticists discover new ways to use DNA, potential for misuse by
gov’t increases and further threatens privacy (ex. construction of faces
from DNA samples)
oAccuracy
(Lynch) false-positive match rate of 25%
oBeing entered into this database essentially makes those individuals “pre-
suspects” for crimes they did not necessarily commit
Conclusion: Positives of DNA testing
oACLU, collections of geneticists, and other technical experts filed amicus briefs
in support of King  humanitarian issue, not just political/legal
oDetermining an arrestee’s criminal history may serve a legit interest of the state
by determining criminals’ risk levels
3. Select an example of an animal that has been “cloned” using somatic cell nuclear
transfer since 1997. Research the context of that cloning project and then offer a case study
that places the SCNT project within the social, political, and economic contexts that
enabled it. As in the case of Dolly, some themes you might consider including in your
analysis are: the relationship of biotechnology to agriculture and industry, biotechnology
and nation-building, ethical debates, and categories of kinship and identity.
THESIS: Since the cloning of Dolly the Sheep in ’96, countless other animal species
have been cloned using SCNT – from endangered species (guar, sand cats) to fish and
pets (“super-beagles”). In the case of cloned pigs, what began as experimentation for the
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sake of xenografting and medical researched has evolved into “mass production” and an
international debate about ethicality and agribusiness.
Overview of SCNT (Dolly)
oFemale sheep #1: give hormone therapy so she produces lots of eggs
Collect eggs, remove nucleus
oFemale sheep #2: take nucleus from mammary tissue (differentiated breast tissue),
implant nucleus into egg cell from sheep #1, zap w/ electrical pulse so fusion
occurs
Somatic cell induced differentiation at the crux of this process
oImplant fused cell into uterine wall of female #3
oBlackface sheep (ovum and surrogate); finn-dorset sheep (somatic cell)  dolly
came out with finn-dorset phenotype
PPL Therapeutics in Virginia (2000): 1st pig lconing
oSlight methodological difference compared to Dolly: direct insertion of genetic
material into “shell” of egg vs. electrode stimulation
oOriginal objective: xenografting  transplanting organs into humans/worldwide
organ donor shortage
PPL touted pigs as “preferred species” for xenotransplantation on ethical
grounds
oDifficulties in SCNT w/ pigs: “more intractable” reproductive biology  pigs
need min # of viable fetuses to maintain pregnancy (whereas sheep and cattle
need only 1)
oPigs were cloned with knockout gene that allows transplantation into humans
without immune system rejection
That saidm pigs have PERV virus in genetic makeup; no guarantee that
virus would be harmless in humans
2014 BBC report: BGI in China “mass production of pigs”
o“First shed contains 90 animals in 2 long rows. They look perfectly normal, as
one would expect, but each of them is carrying cloned embryos. Many are clones
themselves.”
oPlant produces 500 cloned pigs/year  “exploiting science on an industrial scale”
oReporter taken to implanation room, where a sow was on surgery table about to
have blastocyst implanted in uterus
oSize and productivity of BGI’s cloning/sequencing is staggering: it has 156
sequencing machines, compared to 30 at Cambridge’s Wellcome Trust Sanger
Institute (which has most in Europe)
oBGI cites medical research, industrial production, and food for motivations of pig
cloning
“If it looks cute…” “if it tastes good…” “industrial use” = reasons for
sequencing from BGI exec
Issues
oMoratorium/skepticism on cloning projects in US puts us at relative disadvantage
compared to China
Different moral/ethical standards with respect to cloning across diff
countries
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