Ethics in genomics and the First Sunday of Advent

The genetics part of the cell biology block is coming to an end, and although it has been a bit dry at times, I think it’ll grow on me when we start our ELSA-assignments next week. ELSA is an acronym for the Ethical, Legal and Social Aspects research, (ELSI in the US, for "Implications") which is an umbrella term for research programmes used to evaluate the ethical and social ramifications of sciences like genomics and nanotechnology in particular.

This week we’ve learned a lot about gene technology, and how it’s used in medicine, cloning and GMO’s. Next week’s ELSA discussions will build on that, where we’ll be split up into four groups to discuss and present the ethics of gene editing, gene therapy, DNA-vaccines and cloning of animals. We were encouraged by our professors to bring up controversial and provocative talking points, so I can’t wait to see what the class’ opinion on these topics are.

As for the week that’s passed, I can’t help but feel a bit relieved that our exams aren’t until February, now that Christmas is setting in. We still have the same insane amount of homework, and two more hearings before the holidays, but overall I feel pretty relaxed about it. (I’m sure I’ll feel differently after Christmas break though.)

On the topic of Christmas, I’m going to end the blog post here with one of my favourite Norwegian advent songs from my childhood, and hope that you’re all having a lovely first Sunday of Advent.