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Ethical, Legal and Social Implications in Genetics and Genomics Over Time

East Baltimore
4th term
Health Behavior and Society
3 credits
Academic Year:
2022 - 2023
Instruction Method:
Class Times:
  • Thursday,  3:30 - 6:20pm
Auditors Allowed:
Undergrads Allowed:
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructors:
Debra Mathews
Frequency Schedule:
Every Other Year
Next Offered:
2024 - 2025

It is recommended, though not required, that students have taken a genetics course.


We have known from the beginning of the Human Genome Project that exploring the genetics of our human community and operationalizing the resulting information in clinical care and beyond would raise significant ethical, legal, and social issues that all of us would have to grapple with. This course will give you the tools to understand a range of these issues, their history, and their future, so that we can all do our part to help maximize the benefits of this science and minimize the risks.

Examines the ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) of human genetics and genomics through the lens of significant and field-defining periods and events in the history of the field. Examines the ELSI raised by those events, and how the events have shaped and defined the current state of the science and emerging scientific, ethical, policy and public health issues.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify some of the defining moments in the ELSI history of human genetics, and discuss why they are important
  2. Analyze the ethical, legal and social issues at play during these moments in history
  3. Discuss how these defining moments have influenced contemporary and emerging issues in the genetic sciences
Methods of Assessment:

This course is evaluated as follows:

  • 40% Presentation(s)
  • 25% Discussion
  • 35% Final Paper

Instructor Consent:

Consent required for some students

Consent Note:

Consent required for students not in ScM in Genetic Counseling program

For consent, contact: