Genetic Testing


Guidelines for 50pt Essay on Genetic Testing


The opinion-based essay must be at least 1000 words and must address the following questions:

What is genetic testing?

In what situations would genetic testing be necessary? In what situations would genetic testing be optional?

Commercial genetic tests can be costly but are freely available to consumers. What are the pros and cons of having accessibility to such data?

On the social pressure regarding genetic testing for incurable diseases, renowned neuropsychologist Nancy Wexler of Columbia University states, “our culture values knowledge, not ignorance.” How do you interpret this statement, and what is your viewpoint?


The last page of this document contains a few hyperlinks to short online video documentaries of people facing the questions and consequences regarding genetic testing.

A creative title would be nice (but is not required).


The essay effectively and thoroughly addresses the required contents (30 pts).

Essay is coherent and free of grammatical and spelling errors (10 pts).

Essay has three legitimate references, and citations to these references are appropriately placed within the text (10 pts).

REFERENCES are required.

THREE references are required.

Three LEGITIMATE references are required.

What are references?

-All information from sources MUST be cited appropriately within the essay and listed in a references section.

Throughout the text for your report, if you have incorporated information from a source in a sentence or series of sentences, then cite the author(s) and date of publication in parentheses at the end of the last sentence (see example below).

-There should be no direct quoting or block quoting of facts, definitions, and general information from sources. Direct quote only interesting comments from individuals in the field or from a case study.

-You should have an alphabetical listing of at least three references in APA format (the reader needs to know that you fully investigated your study rather than relied on just one or two sources).

-If a source is in your references section, then it should be cited somewhere in your report.

What is a legitimate reference?

-Only primary literature or reviews (from scientific journals/magazines) and reference books (such as textbooks) are acceptable as these are peer-reviewed and edited for quality control. On-line journals are okay as long as these are peer-reviewed. To determine if a journal is peer-reviewed, be sure that the journal has an editorial board or panel of reviewers.

NO WEBSITES! If you use a story from a website and the story is not published, then refer to that website in parentheses in the text. BUT the website will not count as one of the three required references.

-No encyclopedias!

Examples of APA format for references:

For a journal article:

Djorjevic, M., D.W. Gabriel and B.G. Rolfe. 1987. Rhizobium: Refined parasite of legumes. Annual Review of Phytopathology 25: 145-168.

For a book:

MacArthur, R.H. and E.O. Wilson. 1967. The Theory of Island Biogeography. Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J.

For the first reference example above, if this is the only sentence or this is the last sentence in series of sentences involving information from that source, then you would cite that source in parentheses at the end of the sentence like this (Djorjevic et al., 1987).

If there’s more than one source for a sentence or series of sentences, then you would cite the sources in parentheses at the end of the last sentence like this (MacArthur and Wlison, 1967; Djorjevic et al., 1987).

A great website for more information on APA format is:


The Story of a ‘Previvor’

Published: 2007

Upon learning her high risk for developing cancer, a healthy 33-year old Deborah Lindner considered preventive mastectomy.

The day after the surgery, Joan and Deb discuss their different thoughts about Deb’s decision.

Two weeks after her surgery, Deb kept a diary of her recovery.


Alzheimer’s: The Rarest Gene

Published: 2007

One family’s deadly struggle with early-onset Alzheimer’s has given scientists a window into the disease and its genetic origins.

Alzheimer’s: Quest for Understanding

Published: 2007

Fritzie Hess is determined to help scientists understand Alzheimer’s. She lost her father to it and cares for a sister who has advanced dementia.


When a DNA Test Shows a Lethal Fate – Video Library – The New York Times

Published: November 9, 2009

Katharine Moser, who was at risk for Huntington’s disease, decided to be tested for the gene that causes it. She now knows she will develop the disorder.

Reporter’s Notebook: Huntington’s – Video Library – The New York Times

Published: November 9, 2009

The Times’s Amy Harmon was drawn to a dilemma of DNA testing: Is it better to know you will develop a disease, even if there is nothing that can be done?

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