NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ796400
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-May
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 12
ISSN: ISSN-0002-7685
A Classroom Activity Debating the Ethical Issues of Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis: A Role-Playing Exercise
Staddon, William
American Biology Teacher, v70 n5 p284-287 May 2008
Almost three decades ago, the birth of Louise Brown in England marked the beginning of the "in vitro" fertilization (IVF) era. IVF is done to overcome infertility problems that some couples experience. Sperm and eggs are collected and fertilized in the lab. ("In vitro" means "in glass" and is used to refer to laboratory conditions.) Fertilized eggs are allowed to divide to form an embryo, which is then implanted in the mother. During the 1980s, scientists began developing procedures for characterizing the genetic makeup of embryos created by IVF in a process known as preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). Detection of chromosomal abnormalities that may lead to miscarriage and single gene disorders for certain diseases are among the reasons for performing this procedure. Once the genetic makeup of the embryo has been determined, the parents can then decide if they want it to be implanted. Those that are not implanted can be discarded or frozen. This article describes a classroom activity that can be used with high school or college students and would be done at the end of a unit on genetics. The activity is a role-playing exercise that simulates a congressional hearing being held to determine what law, if any, should be created governing PGD. Students make up the congressional committee and various parties who come to testify. This activity allows students to learn about reproductive biology, and also allows them to critically evaluate their own positions and those of their peers. Further, the activity and assignment address the molecular basis of heredity and personal and community health items specified by the "National Science Education Standards." (Contains 2 tables and 1 figure.)
National Association of Biology Teachers. 12030 Sunrise Valley Drive #110, Reston, VA 20191. Tel: 800-406-0775; Tel: 703-264-9696; Fax: 703-264-7778; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)