A New Framework for the Use of Genetic Information

  • Jacquelyn Ann K. Kegley


In this paper I will seek to do two basic things: (1) Critique the current biological and ethical frameworks which seem to inform most attempts to deal with genetic information and its use; and (2) Present a sketch of a new framework which I believe will be more adequate in dealing with questions of genetic information. What, then, do I believe needs to be changed in the usual approachs to genetic issues? First, the concepts of “gene,” “disease,” and “patient,” need to be de-individualized. An often unexamined and unanalyzed genetic essentialism and determinism, which also imply an individualistic bias, must be exposed and critically analyzed. A more adequate framework needs to be developed which recognizes the complexity of the human genome and especially the inter-dependent and interactive nature of genetic mechanisms. Further, there needs to be a better understanding of the notion of the “genetic causes of disease” that sees disease and illness as a result of the subtle interplay of individual physical characteristics (a variety of biological and psychological factors, not just genetic); environmental factors; and social factors including the cultural.


Cystic Fibrosis Genetic Information Human Genome Project Sickle Cell Trait Genetic Issue 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacquelyn Ann K. Kegley
    • 1
  1. 1.California State UniversityBakersfield

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