Ethical, legal, social, and policy implications of behavioral genetics

Colleen M. Berryessa, Mildred K. Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

The field of behavioral genetics has engendered a host of moral and social concerns virtually since its inception. The policy implications of a genetic basis for behaviors are widespread and extend beyond the clinic to the socially important realms of education, criminal justice, childbearing, and child rearing. The development of new techniques and analytic approaches, including whole-genome sequencing, noninvasive prenatal genetic testing, and optogenetics, has clearly changed the study of behavioral genetics. However, the social context of biomedical research has also changed profoundly over the past few decades, and in ways that are especially relevant to behavioral genetics. The ever-widening scope of behavioral genetics raises ethical, legal, social, and policy issues in the potential new applications to criminal justice, education, the military, and reproduction. These issues are especially critical to address because of their potentially disproportionate effects on vulnerable populations such as children, the unborn, and the incarcerated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-534
Number of pages20
JournalAnnual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics
Volume14
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)

Keywords

  • Commercialization
  • Criminal justice
  • Ethics
  • Eugenics
  • Genetic testing
  • Patient advocacy

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