Module 4: Bio-ethical group discussion on the "prevention chip"

The modern achievements of science raise many medical and above all, ethical questions. In January 2011, the researchers of Stephen Kingsmore introduced a diagnostics chip (“prevention chip”), which could show the traits of genetic carriers of different and severe rare diseases. Everybody possesses a certain amount of these genetic defects in every allele. In terms of a planned pregnancy, the genetic test is able to detect the couple’s predisposition for almost 600 serious genetic diseases. As a result, couples who want to have children, can find outif their offspring will suffer from a disease (with 25% probability). At the moment, the Kingsmore Prevention Chip is at the clinical test phase. Due to the ongoing debate over embryo screening, the chip is currently a very hot topic for discussion. Research on the recessive characteristics of a genetic carrier, (which are present in NCL) are on a purely predictive measure, in terms of the laws of genetic diagnosis.


Students work in small groups compiling and introducing the views of different interest groups (e.g. medical professionals, parents, politicians, representatives of the church and pharmaceutical companies). Students should discuss the resulting ethical questions which arise from these arguments. The conference (generally a double period) is supervised at your school by one of the foundation´s project workers in the area of “Research and Education”.


You will find more information on the “prevention chip” under Diagnostics or on the homepage of the Beyond Batten Disease Foundation.



Go to "Module 5" 


This German - English translation was done by the translators Tizzy Mann, Andrea Murphy, Kate Humby and Marcia Neff for the PerMondo initiative that involves providing free translations for NGOs. PerMondo is sponsored and run by the translation agency Mondo Agit.