Course: College Writing, ENGL-101
Professor: Austrie Duarte
Assignment Title: DNA Testing of Children Outside of Medical Need
My assignment was about the genetic testing of children. Prior to starting the assignment, my class read a short story which summarized why some people may be against the testing of children and some may be for. We were then faced with two questions that we could answer: Outside of a medical need, should parents be allowed genealogically test their children’s DNA, and, when genealogically testing children’s DNA, should the consent of both parents be required? I explored both questions before I chose which to answer. After evaluating my personal opinion and other research I had done on genetic testing, I chose to answer the first question.
While I am currently a dual enrollment student at Carroll, I will be attending Virginia Tech this coming fall and my major will be Dairy Science with the hope of double majoring in Animal Science on the Pre-Veterinary track. My assignment topic, while not directly, may correlate with some of the materials I will be learning, especially a class in my undergraduate studies called “Applied Dairy Genetics” and “Animal Genetics.” While I will be learning about an entirely different species in my classes at Virginia Tech, it will be very helpful to understand the fundamentals of genetics and genetic testing, and also interesting to see the differences between genetic testing on humans versus animals.
What did you learn? What answers did you come up with?
I learned that the world of genetic testing is like a never-ending tunnel. There is so much research about it and so many opinions that it is almost impossible to have a solid judgment on genetic testing unless one’s personal values interfere. While writing my essay, I often found myself contradicting my statements in prior sentences because there were plenty of facts from both sides that made it a lot harder to create a solid claim for the use of genetic testing. After doing a lot of research, I chose to support parents being able to genetically test their children outside of medical need. My most useful source was from the American Civil Liberties Union, which outlined that the majority of newborns in hospitals have their genetics tested as soon as they are born to assess if the infant may have any genetic diseases. After testing, it is common for states to hold on to the child’s DNA for a while, if not permanently. This meant that a lot of us may have already had our DNA tested that we may not know about, and really helped to tie up my thesis.
Challenges and Successes
A challenge that I was able to overcome was the variety of sources that I felt I lacked when I first began writing my essay. I wanted to be able to give my readers facts from all the possibilities that genetic testing holds, not just what people may fear it can do. This took a lot of research to find sources from each end of the spectrum. In the end, I used six different sources. One of the sources described how genetic testing brought long-lost siblings together, and also helped to describe how genetic testing can be useful in filling the gap of data that the United States census has for African Americans. Another source outlined how genetic testing was used to track the Golden State Killer as well as identify a victim many years after their murder. Altogether, I felt that it was well worth the challenge of finding a variety of sources as it tied my essay together well and helped my readers to think that my claim was more reliable because it involved of so many aspects of genetic testing.