Our Genes/Our Choices Web site

Electronic Resources
Created: 2011


Our Genes/Our Choices Web site
Summary: "In Genes on Trial, Harvard Law School professor and former public defender Charles J. Ogletree [smoothly] steers his panel into the rocky shoals of a hypothetical university research project -- the results of which could have far-reaching effects. Dean Harner, a biochemist at the National Cancer Institute, plays a scientist who is trying to identify a gene for addiction to alcohol. Could there be a genetic connection? His study focuses on a perfect group of subjects, immigrants from hypothetical Tracy Island. They have an isolated gene pool and a higher-than-average incidence of alcoholism. But some of the panel, playing the Tracy Islanders, are wary of participating. The university researchers explain the value of the project and that it can truly help people. The Tracy Islanders remain suspicious but vote to participate in the study. The study has shown that Tracy Islanders with a certain gene variant are twice as likely to become addicted to alcohol as those who don't [have it]. Suddenly the scientists, who only wanted to help alcoholics, have apparently unintentionally stigmatized members of the Tracy Island entire community [sic]. And to make the waters even muddier, announces Ogletree, a Tracy Islander gets drunk and murders a policeman in a bar brawl. Can a clever defense lawyer, played by attorney Johnnie Cochran, get the killer off on the basis of his genes?

"The PBS broadcast of OUR GENES/OUR CHOICES is the centerpiece of a vigorous public education effort designed to promote ongoing community dialogue around the personal, ethical, legal, medical and social challenges posed by advances in genetic technology. The campaign's educational resources and outreach activities -- including a viewer's guide, workshops, forums, screenings, and more -- aim to increase public awareness and understanding of genetics issues, address common misconceptions, and ultimately, help people become better-informed decision makers. The OUR GENES/OUR CHOICES Viewer's Guide and Web site, (www.pbs.org/fredfriendly/ourgenes) developed by the American Museum of Natural History, offers information on the programs, including a printable version of the viewer's guide, video highlights from the series, links to genetic resources and other original content that will help users understand the complex implications of advances in genetic science.

"Fred Friendly Seminars was awarded the 2003 Distinguished Achievement Award for Excellence in Educational Publishing from the Association of Educational Publishers for the Our Genes/Our Choices Viewer's Guide."--2003 Peabody Awards entry form.

The Web site for this series is (www.pbs.org/fredfriendly/ourgenes). It was accessed 01/28/2005 by Media Archives Cataloging in creation of this record. The site contains the following sections:
What do you know? - A quiz about genetics
Could we? - An essay on the history of genetics by Michael Yudell, MPH, and Rob DeSalle, Ph.D., both of the American Museum of Natural History
Should we? - An essay on ethical thinking by By Mary Ann Cutter, Ph.D., University of Colorado
Information about the Fred Friendly Seminars
Information about each episode of the series, with video highlights, information about the participants, and links to additional resources

Corporate Producers: Fred Friendly Seminars, Inc. | WNET/Channel 13

Broadcast Date: January 5, 2003