Doha Debates– Don't settle for a Divided World
MODULE

Future of Genetics

Gene editing allows scientists to change an organism’s DNA, and the science behind it has accelerated in the past decade, thanks to a tool known as CRISPR. CRISPR heralds a new phase in human evolution: We now have the ability to change and rewrite our genetic code.

7 lessons

Unit 1: Doha Debates Asks

DD-genetics-Asks-video
play
04:17
Video

Future of Genetics: Would You Genetically Modify Something About Yourself?

What's the first things that comes to mind when you hear "gene editing"? We asked some people about genetic modification and whether they would change anything about themselves?

Essential questions

  1. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term “gene editing”?
  2. What are the benefits of gene editing?
  3. Could gene editing increase inequality?
  4. Where should we draw the line in gene editing?
  5. Who should be responsible for regulating gene editing?
  6. Would regulating gene editing hinder scientific advancement?
  7. What would the world look like if gene editing were widely available?

Unit 2: The Perfect Human

DD-genetics-intro-video
play
05:49
Video

The Perfect Human: Gene Editing & CRISPR

If you could use gene editing to enhance or change traits in your child or eliminate diseases would you do it?

Nelufar Hedayat gives you a breakdown of the promises and problems with genetic editing.

Essential questions

  1. What issues would come from choosing a child’s characteristics like eye color?
  2. Why would people want to edit DNA?
  3. Which diseases should be prioritized to possibly cure or eliminate?
  4. Who should oversee gene editing technology?
  5. What are the moral and ethical issues with gene editing?
  6. Which physical attributes would people most want to change?
  7. What socio-economic impacts might come from gene editing technology?

Unit 3: Biohacking and other short videos about gene editing

Future of Genetics full debate
play
1:38:51
Video

Future of Genetics

Meet the biohacker who wants to teach everyone how to edit genes

Josiah Zayner is a biohacker who thinks everyone should be able to change their DNA with biotechnology called CRISPR. That’s why he founded a company called The ODIN, which sells do-it-yourself biotech kits that teach people how to genetically modify bacteria and frogs. It's DIY gene therapy.

His company has sold tens of thousands of experiments using CRISPR, an inexpensive and precise gene-editing technology that has revolutionized the field.

Essential questions

  1. How far should gene editing be allowed to advance?
  2. What might happen if gene edited species interbreed?
  3. Who should create gene editing guidelines?
  4. What might happen if gene engineering technology allows for DIY capabilities?
  5. Who should be able to change their own DNA?
  6. What role will government play in the future of gene editing?

Unit 4a: Speaker Julian Savulescu

Julian-youtube
play
03:59
Video

Julian Savulescu: Genetic Enhancement Is a Moral Obligation

Gene editing technology promises to cure diseases and make us stronger and smarter—but where do we draw the line on becoming superhuman?

Philosopher and bioethicist Julian Savulescu talks about why genetic enhancement is a moral obligation.

Essential questions

  1. What is the importance of human wellbeing?
  2. In what ways does nature not allocate genes equally in humans?
  3. How is wellbeing appealed to in daily life?
  4. Which biological interventions are already being used?
  5. How are people able to avoid genetic disorders with current technology?
  6. Why might we not need as much genetic diversity as we once did?
  7. What role does ethics play in human enhancement?
  8. How might our species change with gene editing?

Unit 4b: Speaker Katie Hasson

Katie-youtube
play
03:53
Video

Katie Hasson: Germline Editing is Not Safe, Not Needed & Unethical

Gene editing technology promises to cure diseases and make us stronger and smarter—but where do we draw the line on becoming superhuman?

Policy advocate Katie Hasson argues against gene editing and the ethics of it.

Essential questions

  1. What might happen if we are able to completely manipulate a baby’s DNA?
  2. How might privilege and wealth play into the use of gene editing?
  3. What ethical issues will come from human enhancement?
  4. Who will benefit most from gene editing?
  5. What benefits come from the use of gene editing?
  6. What role should governments play in regulating the use of gene editing?
  7. In what ways might children be treated differently who have been genetically enhanced?

Unit 4c: Speaker Jamie Metzl

Jamie-youtube
play
03:57
Video

Jamie Metzl: Engineering Immunity to Pathogens Like Coronavirus

Gene editing technology promises to cure diseases and make us stronger and smarter—but where do we draw the line on becoming superhuman?

Futurist Jamie Metzl makes his argument for gene editing and how the coronavirus might come into play in the future.

Essential questions

  1. In what ways are people today already super human?
  2. How is technology affecting human development?
  3. What benefits will gene editing bring to babies?
  4. What are the moral and ethical implications of gene editing?
  5. What are the risks to using gene editing on future humans?
  6. Why are some people afraid of the use of gene editing?
  7. How will we balance our values against what technology is able to create?

Unit 5: Connector

how to get along
play
03:55
Video

How to Get Along With Other People

Dr. Govinda Clayton sat down with Doha Debates to explain how to make the most out of tough conversations and the secret to getting along with others.

Essential questions

  1. What is a Majlis?
  2. Why are people cautious about gene editing?What is the moral responsibility that comes with gene editing?
  3. How might gene editing reinforce racial biases and prejudice?
  4. Who will set the standards for gene editing?
  5. How will we make gene editing equitable and accessible to all?
  6. What role should government play in gene editing?

About Deep Dive

Doha Debates hosts discussions on the world’s most pressing challenges to bridge differences, build consensus and identify solutions. In each moderated live debate, experts share their experiences and propose concrete plans. Doha Debates also offers digital resources such as videos and articles to help students build a deep understanding of the issues and to foster ongoing conversations.

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Future of Genetics

About Deep Dive

Doha Debates hosts discussions on the world’s most pressing challenges to bridge differences, build consensus and identify solutions. In each moderated live debate, experts share their experiences and propose concrete plans. Doha Debates also offers digital resources such as videos and articles to help students build a deep understanding of the issues and to foster ongoing conversations.

Guide to using Doha Debates curriculum

Doha Debates curriculum may be used in a variety of ways. Each section will have an associated individual lesson plan.

It is possible to use one lesson plan of your choice, the lesson plan(s) that best fit your timeframe. However, this complete and comprehensive curriculum packet is designed to build on the previous sections and lessons.
The curriculum will focus around engaging students through the following techniques:

  1. Active learning
  2. Collaborative learning
  3. Discussions
  4. Increasing student motivation and participation
  5. Problem-based learning
  6. Use of effective questions
  7. Writing assignments

 

All of the lesson plans have at least one form of student engagement related to the lesson. Content can be tailored to most subjects.

Specific time allotments are outlined on the next page and will be found in each lesson plan within the Learning Plan section. You may use any part of the Learning Plan components.

 

FOR EDUCATORS
Future of Genetics

Complete Curriculum for Genetics

Doha Debates hosts discussions on the world’s most pressing challenges to bridge differences, build consensus and identify solutions. In each moderated live debate, experts share their experiences and propose concrete plans. Doha Debates also offers digital resources such as videos and articles to help students build a deep understanding of the issues and to foster ongoing conversations.

Lesson 1: Doha Debates Asks

Flexible instruction

This lesson and related activities are designed to support in-class learning, elearning, and distance learning (students working online at home while the instructor checks in digitally.)

Stage 1: Desired goals

Established goal

Know where people stand on a variety of questions regarding the future of genetics.

 

Meaning

Understandings

Students will understand that…

  • Gene editing has the potential for positive benefits.

  • Gene editing may create an environment of greater inequality.

  • Given the opportunity, most people would change something about themselves.

  • Gene editing can be focused on the eradication of diseases.

  • It is difficult to decide who would regulate gene editing.

  • People see a world of “super” humans with unrestricted gene editing.

 

Essential questions

  • What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term “gene editing”?

  • What are the benefits of gene editing?

  • Could gene editing increase inequality?

  • Where should we draw the line in gene editing?

  • Who should be responsible for regulating gene editing?

  • Would regulating gene editing hinder scientific advancement?

  • What would the world look like if gene editing were widely available?

 

Acquisiton

Students will know…

  • Issues associated with the future of genetics.

  • Opinions people have about various aspects regarding the future of genetics.

 

Students will be able to…

  • Recognize the personal views people have about the future of genetics.

  • Express how other people see the issues associated with the future of genetics.

 

Engagement

Studens will…

  • Understand what other people think about the future of genetics through direct discussion

Stage 2: Evidence & assessment

Assessment evidence / Performance tasks

  • Oral or written response to the essential questions
  • Explanation of how each students arrives at his or her view

Stage 3: Learning plan

In-class, elearning, distance learning

note: pacing outlined below is for in-class learning and may need to be adjusted for elearning or distance learning

 

5-10 minutes

Discuss what comes to mind when you hear the question, “What is genetics?”

 

10-15 minutes

Discuss the essential questions in small groups.

 

10-15 minutes

Discuss the essential questions as a class/virtual learning group.

 

5 minutes

Watch the video The Future of Genetics: Doha Debates Asks.

 

10-15 minutes

Focus on the question, “How might gene editing be used by governments?”

Talk about what you think governments might do and which governments you believe would use this in the future.

How might a government use gene editing?

Are there examples in history that are similar to this scenario?

How real is this issue and does it matter if it happens and why?

 

Activities (choose one or more)

One day

Ask three to five people outside of your class/learning group four of the essential questions. The data may be collected in person or virtually. Write each person’s responses to share as a class/group.

 

One day+

Would you be willing to have your DNA analyzed? There are a growing number of companies that provide this service such as 23 and Me and Ancestry. Find one person who has used one of these services and talk them about the process and what was learned from the results.

If you have had your DNA analyzed then you may use your thoughts on the process. Talk to your family and friends about having it done and the reasons why they are willing or not to have it done. Were there any surprises with results? Should governments require every person to have this done? And finally, are you interested in knowing potential health issues?

 

15-20 minutes

Share the responses from the first outside classroom activity once the information has been collected.

 

15-20 minutes

Discuss what was learned from the second outside learning activity.

Lesson 2

Flexible instructions

This lesson and related activities are designed to support in-class learning, elearning, and distance learning (students working online at home while the instructor checks in digitally.)

Stage 1: Desired goals

Established goal

Students will have a basic understanding of gene editing and CRISPR based on Doha Debates: The Perfect Human

 

Meaning

Understandings

Students will understand that…

  • CRISPR is a tool used to edit genes.

  • Gene editing has the potential to eliminate a wide variety of diseases.

  • A myriad of moral and ethical issues surround gene editing.

  • Germline gene editing may affect a person’s family for generations to come.

  • It is still difficult to know the long term impact of gene editing.

 

Essential questions

  • Where are places in the world where the gender pay gap is getting worse?

  • Which countries have the largest pay gap?

  • How far away are we from the gender equality in pay?

  • What are benefits of gender equality?

  • Why are we so far away from gender equality?

  • What role do political systems play in gender equality?

  • How do biases limit a person over a lifetime?

  • What are stereotypes about strong women?

 

Acquisiton

Students will know…

  • Key roles for the use of gene editing.

  • Methods by which gene editing has the potential to change human evolution.

 

Students will be able to…

  • Recognize the reasons why gene editing is controversial.

  • Express problems related to allowing the development of gene editing.

 

Engagement

Studens will…

  • Understand other people’s general views about the future of genetics.

  • Better understand CRISPR through different games.

Stage 2: Evidence & assessment

Assessment evidence / Performance tasks

  • Oral or written response to the essential questions.

  • Explanation of how each students arrives at their view.

  • Data collection from other people outside of the classroom regarding views on the future of genetics.

Stage 3: Learning plan

In-class, elearning, distance learning

note: pacing outlined below is for in-class learning and may need to be adjusted for elearning or distance learning

 

10 minutes

Watch the Doha Debates video: The Perfect Human: Gene Editing & CRISPR

 

10-15 minutes

Discuss the essential questions in small groups/virtual learning groups and then as a class or discuss the questions as a class only.

 

15-20 minutes

Visit CRISPR. On the left side of the main page click on Gene Editing and then CRISPR/cas9.

Watch the short video explanation of CRISPR.

Next, click on “Programs” on the CRISPR site and then “pipeline” to see what is being developed.

Discuss as a class what you learned from the website. Think about how this might affect people around the world into the future.

 

Activities (choose one or more)

One day

Games are often a great way to better understand new concepts especially when stuck at home. Try the following CRISPR Defense which is FREE on
the Google Play and Apple App stores. Happy gaming! When you have tried one of the games post it on social media and tag @dohadebates and @projectexplorer. Ask 3-5 people outside of the classroom the essential questions from this lesson. This may be done either in person or over Zoom, Skype, or other ways to connect digitally. Try to make connections with other people outside of your own town, State, or even country. The data will be gathered, analyzed, and then synthesized into a comprehensive summary of the data results. The results will be presented to the class.

 

The next two activities may be completed during the next class meeting

10-15 minutes

Discuss the results collected from asking the essential questions.

 

10-15 minutes

Discuss what each person thought about the data viewed on the CRISPR website.

Lesson 3

Flexible instructions

This lesson and related activities are designed to support in-class learning, elearning, and distance learning (students working online at home while the instructor checks in digitally.)

Stage 1: Desired goals

Established goal

Establish a foundation of the primary issues associated with gene editing from a scientific and ethical perspective.

 

Meaning

Understandings

Students will understand that…

  • Gene editing has the ability to eliminate life threatening diseases like malaria.

  • The technology is advancing rapidly even while the laws surrounding gene editing are not.

  • Scientists are moving forward in certain areas of gene editing without knowing the future repercussions.

  • DIY gene editing is a growing possibility and reality.

 

Essential questions

  • How far should gene editing be allowed to advance?

  • What might happen if gene edited species interbreed?

  • Who should create gene editing guidelines?

  • What might happen if gene engineering technology allows for DIY capabilities?

  • Who should be able to change their own DNA?

  • What role will government play in the future of gene editing?

 

Acquisiton

Students will know…

  • Key facts about gene editing and biohacking.

  • Different ways gene editing will affect people.

 

Students will be able to…

  • Recognize the various moral and ethical issues around gene editing.

  • Express ways they believe gene editing will move forward in the future.

 

Engagement

Studens will…

  • Better understand various biohacking methods beyond gene editing.

Stage 2: Evidence & assessment

Assessment evidence / Performance tasks

  • Students will watch short videos and discuss additional problems presented in each

  • Students will form groups to find additional evidence for each of videos shown

  • The additional evidence found will be presented to the class/learning group either in oral form or through a brief visual presentation

  • Completion of associated tasks with each video

  • Oral or written response to the essential questions

  • Explanation of how each students arrives their view

Stage 3: Learning plan

In-class, elearning, distance learning

note: pacing outlined below is for in-class learning and may need to be adjusted for elearning or distance learning

 

15-30 minutes

Start with essential questions. The questions may be discussed in a small group first and then as a whole class/learning group.

 

15 minutes

Watch Gene editing can now change an entire species — forever and discuss as a class. Essential Question: What are benefits to gene editing?

 

15 minutes

Watch Designer Babies – The Problem With China’s CRISPR Experiment and discuss as a class. Essential Question: Who should create gene editing guidelines?

 

15 minutes

Watch Meet the biohacker using CRISPR to teach everyone gene editing and discuss as a class. Essential Question: Who should be able to change their own DNA?

 

Activities (choose one or more)

One day

DIY gene editing isn’t possible at the moment but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to “biohack” aspects of your body. Read 7 Biohacks to Master Before Worrying About Other Biohacks and learn about different biohacking methods. These biohacks are do not require a scientific background but may require discipline. Try at least one of the biohacks to see if it works for you.

Share the article with family and friends to try out the ideas. Try a week or even month long experiment and then get together in person or virtually with others who have tried one of the ideas to discuss the results.

 

The next activity may be completed during the next class meeting.

10-15 minutes

As a class, discuss the results of the outside learning activity.

Lesson 4a - Speaker Julian Savulescu

Flexible instructions

This lesson and related activities are designed to support in-class learning, elearning, and distance learning (students working online at home while the instructor checks in digitally.)

Stage 1: Desired goals

Established goal

Demonstrate an understanding of how genetic human enhancement is a moral obligation going into the future.

 

Meaning

Understandings

Students will understand that…

  • Gene editing can give the next generation a better life.

  • We already use biological interventions.

  • People can already avoid certain genetic disorders with gene editing.

  • There will need to be strong ethical principles around gene editing.

  • The promotion of wellbeing should be the central idea behind gene editing.

 

Essential questions

  • What is the importance of human wellbeing?

  • In what ways does nature not allocate genes equally in humans?

  • How is wellbeing appealed to in daily life?

  • Which biological interventions are already being used?

  • How are people able to avoid genetic disorders with current technology?

  • Why might we not need as much genetic diversity as we once did?

  • What role does ethics play in human enhancement?

  • How might our species change with gene editing?

 

Acquisiton

Students will know…

  • Key issues surrounding the future of human enhancement through gene editing.

  • Differing ways gene enhancement may benefit people.

 

Students will be able to…

  • Explain how gene editing is a moral obligation.

  • Describe ways gene editing has the potential to create a new species of humans.

 

Engagement

Studens will…

  • Learn about what choices you might make if you had the opportunity to choose what you look like.

Stage 2: Evidence & assessment

Assessment evidence / Performance tasks

  • Discuss the speaker’s general position on human enhancement based on the video and background content and develop possible solutions to issues the students may have with the speaker.

  • Group presentation of data found to answer each of the essential questions presented by the speaker.

Stage 3: Learning plan

In-class, elearning, distance learning

note: pacing outlined below is for in-class learning and may need to be adjusted for elearning or distance learning

 

10-15 minutes

Watch the speaker’s Doha Debates presentation taking note of the key points.

 

20-40 minutes

Read the background content to develop a deeper understanding of speaker.

 

5-10 Minutes

In small groups discuss what each person drew from the videos and background information as key areas.

 

10-20 Minutes

Discuss each group’s findings as a class/learning group.

 

15-30 Minutes

Discuss the results for one or both of the outside learning task that the students completed.

 

Outside learnings

30-60 Minutes

Gene enhancement may allow humans to choose what the future generations will look like. We’re not there yet but technology does allow for us to play around with who we might want to be in the digital world. Digital avatars have existed in various forms for many years.

What would you want to look like if you could control “your genes”? Try Facemaker. Play with all the options and even make more than one avatar. Think about why you are making the choices you are regarding how you look. Encourage your family and friends to try the game as well.

 

1 – 2 days+

Students will form small groups. Each student in the group will ask 5 people (nonstudents outside of the school setting) the essential questions from this lesson. This may be done either in person or over Zoom, Skype, or other ways to connect digitally. Try to make connections with other people outside of your own town, State, or even country. The data will be gathered, analyzed, and then synthesized into a comprehensive summary of the data results. The results will be presented to the class.

Background info: Julian Savulescu

About Julian Savulescu

Professor Julian Savulescu has held the Uehiro Chair in Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford since 2002. He has degrees in medicine, neuroscience and bioethics. He directs the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics within the Faculty of Philosophy, and leads a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator award on Responsibility and Health Care. He directs the Oxford Martin Programme for Collective Responsibility for Infectious Disease at the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford. He codirects the interdisciplinary Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities in collaboration with Public Health, Psychiatry and History. In 2017, he joined the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, spending four monthsper year as Visiting Professorial Fellow in Biomedical Ethics where he is working to establish a programme in biomedical ethics, and Melbourne University as Distinguished International Visiting Professor in Law.

Julian’s key points from Doha Debates Presentation

  • Genes affect our health and wellbeing Nature does not allocate genes equally

  • Some are born with terrible genetic disorders – people can now avoid genetic disorders through gene editing

  • Rational evolution is the use of science to shape our genes to achieve our values

  • We can use gene editing to give future generations a better life

  • We use biological interventions like adding iodine to salt

  • There is no difference between environmental interventions and biological interventions

  • Parents should be allowed to access this technology

  • Not all [genetic] diversity is good

  • Science can help protect against certain viruses

  • Science can tell us how but ethics can tell us if we should

  • The promotion of wellbeing is the central principal

 

Podcasts

Genetic Selection and Enhancement listen

Cost-equivalence: rethinking treatment allocation listen

No pain, no praise: motivational enhancement and the meaning of life listen

Choosing the sex of your child listen

The proper place of conscience and values listen

Videos

Pills that improve morality: Julian Savulescu at TEDxBarcelona watch on YouTube

The Science and Ethics of Human Enhancement watch on YouTube

The Perfect Human Being Series watch on YouTube

Human Enhancement & Ethics watch on YouTube

Unfit for the Future: The Urgent Need for Moral Bioenhancement watch on YouTube

 

Articles

Why Lock Down of the Elderly is Not Ageist and Why Levelling Down Equality is Wrong read

Extreme Altruism in a Pandemic read

Hunt for coronavirus vaccine raises ethical dilemmas for researchers and drug companies read

Contact-tracing apps and the future COVID-19 vaccination should be compulsory. Social, technological, and pharmacological immunisation read

Drugs may be able to fix our romantic lives when things go wrong read

 

Other

Twitter

Lesson 4b - Speaker Katie Hasson

Flexible instructions

This lesson and related activities are designed to support in-class learning, elearning, and distance learning (students working online at home while the instructor checks in digitally.)

Stage 1: Desired goals

Established goal

Articulate the understanding that genetic human enhancement should be strongly rejected.

 

Meaning

Understandings

Students will understand that…

  • Genetic human enhancement may only benefit the privileged and wealthy.

  • Parents may feel pressure to choose from a narrow range of social norms.

  • There will be significant ethical and moral concerns with gene editing of babies.

  • A number of countries have already placed restrictions on gene editing.

  • Gene editing does have value for treating sick patients.

  • Human enhancement will bring greater inequalities.

 

Essential questions

  • What might happen if we are able to completely manipulate a baby’s DNA?

  • How might privilege and wealth play into the use of gene editing?

  • What ethical issues will come from human enhancement?

  • Who will benefit most from gene editing?

  • What benefits come from the use of gene editing?

  • What role should governments play in regulating the use of gene editing?

  • In what ways might children be treated differently who have been genetically enhanced?

 

Acquisiton

Students will know…

  • Key reasons genetic enhancement is not a good idea

  • Differing ways genetic enhancement may create greater inequality

 

Students will be able to…

  • Express the importance of understanding the implications of gene editing

  • Recognize the moral and ethical issues associated with gene editing

 

Engagement

Studens will…

  • Understand where other people stand on the issue of genetic human enhancement.

  • Create the “perfect” human based on the complete gene editing ability.

Stage 2: Evidence & assessment

Assessment evidence / Performance tasks

  • Discuss the speaker’s general position on gene editing based on the video and background content and develop possible solutions to issues the students may have with the speaker.

  • Group presentation of data found to answer each of the essential questions presented by the speaker.

Stage 3: Learning plan

In-class, elearning, distance learning

note: pacing outlined below is for in-class learning and may need to be adjusted for elearning or distance learning

 

15-20 minutes

Watch the speaker’s Doha Debates presentation taking note of the key points.

 

20-40 minutes

Read the background content to develop a deeper understanding of speaker.

 

5-10 minutes

In small groups discuss what each person drew from the videos and background information as key areas.

 

10-20 minutes

Discuss each group’s findings as a class/learning group.

 

Outside learnings

60 Minutes

Human enhancement may give humans the ability to create the “perfect” person. The question becomes, what is perfect? Create a list of what you think would represent the perfect person. What mental and physical characteristics will be most important? Keep in mind other people will have the ability to make a perfect human so how will that affect your perfection?

Have your family and friends come up with a perfect person and then compare. Another step is to have 5 to 10 people each create a perfect human and then as a group discuss the results and then create an amalgamation of the group’s characteristics. This is a great thing to do virtually.

 

1 – 2 days+

Students will form small groups. Each student in the group will ask 5 people (nonstudents outside of the school setting) the essential questions from this lesson.

This may be done either in person or over Zoom, Skype, or other ways to connect digitally. Try to make connections with other people outside of your own town, State, or even country. The data will be gathered, analyzed, and then synthesized into a comprehensive summary of the data results. The results will be presented to the class.

Background info: Katie Hasson

About Katie Hasson

Katie Hasson, PhD, writes, speaks, researches, and teaches about the social and political aspects of human genetic and reproductive technologies. Katie earned her PhD in Sociology with a Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender, and Sexuality from the University of California, Berkeley, and was previously Assistant Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California.

 

Katie’s key points from Doha Debates

  • Parents desires are written into their child’s genome

  • Should we move forward with genome editing

  • This practice is not safe, not needed, and it could only worsen inequality

  • Many believe gene editing helps eliminate genetic diseases

  • Parents can already use embryo screening technology

  • Germline editing allows for human enhancement which could lead to even greater inequality

  • This technology may only be available to the wealthy

  • We may write our current biases into the genomes of future generations

  • Parents may feel pressured to choose from a narrow range of social norms

  • Disabilities may be further stigmatized

 

Podcasts

The Political and Social Issues of Human Biotechnologies listen

Discussing the Ethics and Benefits of Gene Editing listen

CRISPR Bioethics listen

Are We Selling Ourselves Out? – The Impact of Genetic Data Collection listen

 

Videos

The Geneva Statement watch on YouTube

Human Gene Editing and Human Rights watch on YouTube

 

Articles

Germline modification ‘would violate human dignity’s read

CRISPR in Russia: The World’s Next Gene-Edited Babies May Not Be Far Away read

The U.S. Government’s Mass Collection of Immigrant DNA Hints at Surveillance Future read

Whom does your DNA belong to? Hint, it’s not just you read

 

Other

Twitter

Lesson 4c - Speaker Jamie Metzl

Flexible instructions

This lesson and related activities are designed to support in-class learning, elearning, and distance learning (students working online at home while the instructor checks in digitally.)

Stage 1: Desired goals

Established goal

Demonstrate an understanding that genetic human enhancement must be carefully guided by values.

 

Meaning

Understandings

Students will understand that…

  • The growth of knowledge is leading to a super convergence of our technologies.

  • The use of gene editing will reduce risks and confer benefits to babies.

  • Future babies will be born without deadly genetic mutations.

  • Genetic editing needs to be used to allow the human race to continue.

  • The technology could be abused, lessen diversity, or benefit only a few.

  • We will go from generalized healthcare to predictive healthcare.

 

Essential questions

  • In what ways are people today already super human?

  • How is technology affecting human development?

  • What benefits will gene editing bring to babies?

  • What are the moral and ethical implications of gene editing?

  • What are the risks to using gene editing on future humans?

  • Why are some people afraid of the use of gene editing?

  • How will we balance our values against what technology is able to create?

 

Acquisiton

Students will know…

  • Key ways gene editing will benefit the human race.

  • Differing ways technology is used to reduce risk and confer benefits.

 

Students will be able to…

  • Explain possible ways gene editing may change human evolution.

  • Recognize the importance of balancing values with the application of technology.

 

Engagement

Studens will…

  • Learn how technology and gene editing are affecting human development.

Stage 2: Evidence & assessment

Assessment evidence / Performance tasks

  • Discuss the speaker’s general position on gene editing based on the video and background content and develop possible solutions to issues the students may have with the speaker.

  • Group presentation of data found to answer each of the essential questions presented by the speaker.

Stage 3: Learning plan

In-class, elearning, distance learning

note: pacing outlined below is for in-class learning and may need to be adjusted for elearning or distance learning

 

15-20 minutes

Watch the speaker’s Doha Debates presentation taking note of the key points.

 

20-40 minutes

Read the background content to develop a deeper understanding of speaker.

 

5-10 Minutes

In small groups discuss what each person drew from the videos and background information as key areas.

 

10-20 Minutes

Discuss each group’s findings as a class/learning group.

 

Outside learnings

60 Minutes

COVID-19 is a global pandemic that requires global action. Jamie Metzl realized the need for a collective, global response to current and future problems that may arise. In April 2020, Jamie Metzl started One Shared World. Jamie believes there is a need for one united humanity, one shared ecosystem, and the shared responsibility to work together. Spend time looking at the One Shared World website. The primary goal is to address the greatest common existential threats facing humanity. Have family and friends look at this as well and talk about what people think about Jamie’s idea. This is a great way to virtually meet and talk about what the world may look like after COVID-19.

 

1 – 2 days+

Students will form small groups. Each student in the group will ask 5 people (non-students outside of the school setting) the essential questions from this lesson. This may be done either in person or over Zoom, Skype, or other ways to connect digitally. Try to make connections with other people outside of your own town, State, or even country. The data will be gathered, analyzed, and then synthesized into a comprehensive summary of the data results. The results will be presented to the class.

Background info: Jamie Metzl

About Jamie Metzl

Jamie Metzl is a technology and healthcare futurist, geopolitical expert, novelist, entrepreneur, media commentator, Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Council, Singularity University faculty member, and the Founder and Chair of One Shared World. In 2019, he was appointed to the World Health Organization expert advisory committee on human genome editing. Jamie previously served in the U.S. National Security Council, State Department, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and as a Human Rights Officer for the United Nations in Cambodia. Jamie appears regularly on national and international media his syndicated columns and other writing on science, technology, health, politics, and international affairs are featured regularly in publications around the world. He is the author of a history of the Cambodian genocide, the historical novel The Depths of the Sea, and the genetics thrillers Genesis Code and Eternal Sonata. The highly revised paperback edition of his bestselling non-fiction book Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity was released in April 2020.

 

Jamie’s key points from Doha Debates

  • We are at an incredible inflection point for our species

  • The growth of knowledge is leading to a super convergence of all our technologies

  • Technology will change the nature of the babies we make in the future

  • If we could safely engineer future humans to be immune to deadly viruses, should we

  • If you believe humans should live on, we need to make it possible

  • Gene editing technology could be abused, lessen diversity, and distributed in unequal ways

  • It is wrong to say this technology should never be used

  • We need to find a middle ground using a risk/benefit analysis

  • We have to find a way that our most sacred values can guide the application of our most powerful technology

  • Genetic human enhancement must be carefully guided by values

 

Podcasts

Futurist Jamie Metzl Predicts We May Emerge From Coronavirus Better Than Before listen

Our future may be crashing into our present listen

‘Hacking Darwin’—The end of sex and humanity’s genetically engineered future listen

We Have the Technology: Jamie Metzl and Building Better Humans listen

 

Videos

Are You Ready for the Genetic Revolution? TEDxPaloAlto watch on YouTube

Augmented Humanity watch on YouTube

Hacking Darwin watch on YouTube

Homo Sapiens 2.0: The Future of Human Genetic Engineering watch on YouTube

Are We Ready for Genetically Modified Humans watch on YouTube

This Is How We Will Fight Disease In The Future watch on YouTube

 

Articles

The next pandemic could be even worse read

Drugs That Could Slow Aging May Hold Promise for Protecting the Elderly from COVID-19 read

Defunding the WHO Mid-Pandemic Is Lunacy read

Reimagining the Future read

How To Prepare for a Future of Gene-Edited Babies—Because It’s Coming read

 

Other

Twitter

Instagram

Lesson 5: Connector

Stage 1: Desired goals

Established goal

  • Explain the meaning and role of the Majlis.

  • Describe and articulate the connections between differing views about the future of genetics.

  • Express the themes discussed by the Connector.

 

Meaning

Understandings

Students will understand that…

  • Gene editing is a technology that is already being used.

  • Laws and regulations need to be developed by a variety of people and organizations.

  • Not everyone agrees on the use of gene editing.

  • There is a moral and ethical imperative in how gene editing is used.

  • Tools for gene editing are becoming more affordable and more widely available.

 

Essential questions

  • What is a Majlis?

  • Why are people cautious about gene editing?

  • What is the moral responsibility that comes with gene editing?

  • How might gene editing reinforce racial biases and prejudice?

  • Who will set the standards for gene editing?

  • How will we make gene editing equitable and accessible to all?

  • What role should government play in gene editing?

 

Acquisiton

Students will know…

  • Key facts about what role ethics play in the role of gene editing.

  • The importance of resolving differing views associated with the future of genetics and gene editing.

 

Students will be able to…

  • Recognize differing views about the future of genetics.

  • Express personal stance regarding the future of genetics.

  • Use research skills to find information to support the student’s view about the future of genetics.

 

Engagement

Studens will…

  • Find ways to seek common ground on the topic of gene editing and the future of genetics.

Stage 2: Evidence & assessment

Assessment evidence / Performance tasks

  • Find data to support three of the essential questions discussed in the Majlis.

  • Write a final paper on where the student stands with regard to gene editing with supporting resources and evidence.

Stage 3: Learning plan

In Classroom learning

5 minutes

Read about the Majlis being part of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage.

 

5-10 minutes

Read “How a Majlis can open minds and shape our perspectives.”

 

5-10 minutes

Watch An Expert’s Guide to Getting Along to better understand the method the Connector uses to help people work together.

 

5-10 minutes

The second half (beginning at minute 24) of the full debate may be used to hear additional comments from each presenter.

 

One day+

The class/group is split into three groups. Each group is given two of the essential questions. The group will find information that supports and refutes the specific question. The class will come together to discuss what was learned based on the information that each group has found. This discussion will follow the Majlis format.

 

15-20 minutes

The class/learning group may watch additional sections of the full debate to listen to what each speaker talks about during the Majlis.

 

One day+

Each student will write a final paper on where they now stand on the issue of gene editing

 

 

Outside of classroom learning

Variable time

It is time to take the discussion outside of the classroom. COVID-19 has changed how we interact and gather but that doesn’t mean we will stop talking! Bring together family and friends in your own virtual majlis. Set up a virtual get together with at least 5 people and try to find common ground on the topic of genetics.

Use the essential questions from this section or from any of the other lesson plans for genetics. The only way to move forward on any issue is to talk about it.

Relative participants:

Julian Savulescu
Philosopher, bioethicist and author
Jamie Metzl
Futurist, geopolitical expert and author
Katie Hasson
Policy advocate