Current Issues in Medical Genetics

This module may only be taken by Medical Genetics students.

Module code: MB2051

Module co-ordinator: Dr Christopher Talbot

Module Aims

The module will enable students to appreciate the social, ethical and legal implications of the application of modern molecular genetics to medicine through discussion on the key social and ethical issues relating to a number of topics, including genetic screening, cloning, reproductive technology, the use of animals in research and GMOs. The module will also introduce the history of some controversial areas of genetics such as eugenics and the genetics of race and IQ.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the module students should be able to:

  • Explain the scientific basis of current controversies in medical genetics
  • Evaluate the arguments on both sides of an ethical topic
  • Outline the procedures in place for the establishment of laws and guidelines governing one of the topic areas
  • Work as a team to produce a variety of presentations, including websites and talks

Module Description

There will be a short programme introducing essential information technology and presentation techniques in medical genetics. The main part of the module will be taught in discussion groups, which will consist of either tutor- or student-led debates or discussions. Students will work in small groups to research a specific disease and present their findings as a website. Individually, students will choose one specific area to research in more depth and produce a 5000-word dissertation.


There is no final examination for this module: all assessment is by continuous assessment. There is no mechanism for a re-sit of the IT exercise or website exercise:

  • Ethical Matrix: 15%
  • Website exercise: 35%
  • Dissertation: 50%