Annual bioethics forum to explore genetic testing

04/06/04

MADISON - The numerous ethical dilemmas posed by the emergence of new abilities to conduct genetic tests for disease and predisposition to disease will be the focus of the Third Annual International Bioethics Forum on April 22-23.

The forum - titled "Who Knows? Who Should Know? Welcome to the World of Genetic Testing!" - will be held at Promega Corporation's BioPharmaceutical Technology Center (BTC), 5445 E. Cheryl Parkway, Fitchburg, which is located off of South Fish Hatchery Road.

The University of Wisconsin Biotechnology Center, the Center for Biology Education and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation are forum sponsors. The two-day event, moderated by Todd McVey of HospiceCare, Inc., is designed to facilitate participants' understanding of:

  • how genes are identified and analyzed,
  • how genes are associated with human health conditions,
  • ethical issues related to genetic testing, and
  • the diversity of viewpoints regarding these issues, and the complexities involved in understanding both the scientific and social dimensions of genetic testing.

Keynote speakers include R. Alta Charo, professor of law and bioethics, the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Henry T. Greely, professor of law, Stanford University, and co-director of the Stanford Program on Genetics, Ethics, and Society; Jeffrey P. Kahn, director of the Center for Bioethics and chair of Bioethics, University of Minnesota; Barbara A. Koenig, professor, School of Medicine, Stanford University; and Robyn S. Shapiro, director of the Center for the Study of Bioethics and professor of bioethics, Medical College of Wisconsin.

In addition to keynote presentations, concurrent sessions to be offered include:

  • "The Right Not to Know"
  • "Stem Cells and Genes: What's the Connection?"
  • "Diagnosis and Treatment of Genetic Diseases"
  • "Genetic Counselors: Our Purpose and How We Work"
  • "Finding a Gene: Current Technologies"
  • "Genetic Enhancement: Where Do We Draw the Line Between Treatment and Enhancement?"

A new event, which is free and open to the public, has been added to this year's schedule. Charo, Greely and Kahn will participate in a panel discussion of the forum's theme from 7-8:30 p.m., Thursday, April 22, in the auditorium of the UW-Madison Genetics/Biotechnology Center, 425 Henry Mall.

Additional support for the forum is provided by FOTODYNE, Inc.; Gehrke & Associates, S.C.; Madison Area Technical College; Michael Best & Friedrich, LLP; Wisconsin Medical Devices and Biotechnology Association; Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction; and the Wisconsin Technology Network.

The forum is open to the public, and the registration fee is $65. For more information, including links to a forum brochure and online registration, visit http://www.btci.org or call 608-273-9737.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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