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The implications of genetic research

Basil Safwat

Genome Biology 2000, 1:reports214  doi:10.1186/gb-2000-1-1-reports214

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Received:4 November 1999
Published:17 March 2000

© 2000 BioMed Central Ltd


This online publication deals with the ethical, social and legal issues raised by genetic mapping and research. It was written by Catherine Baker for the American Association for the Advancement of Science and funded by the US Department of Energy. Aimed at the general public, the issues are presented in a way that makes them easy to relate to, and there is just enough biological information to understand the concepts being discussed. Many issues are covered, including gene therapy, genetic modification of foods and DNA fingerprinting. Fictional case studies make you think more deeply about the implications of genetic research, although they are written in an eerily calm style. There is a small glossary, to which technical words are linked, and a bibliography. The 78-page publication can be downloaded in PDF format, making it easy to print out. There are a few external links, although these are not particularly useful. No broken links were detected.


Each page has forward and backward links and a link to the contents page, making navigation through and between chapters relatively easy.

Reporter's comments


I could not find a publication date on either the website or the PDF.

Best feature

The language is plain and simple and there are some useful graphics.

Wish list

A list of related websites, including those containing the host's own and other online publications, would be useful.

Related websites

Other introductory sites for genetics include Primer on molecular genetics and Blazing a genetic trail.

Table of links

Assumptions made about all sites unless otherwise specified:
The site is free, in English and no registration is required. It is relatively quick to download, can be navigated by an 'intermediate' user, and no problems with connection were found. The site does not stipulate that any particular browser be used and no special software/plug-ins are required to view the site. There are relatively few gratuitous images and each page has its own URL, allowing it to be bookmarked.