Find thousands of books, manuscripts, visual materials and unpublished archives from our collections, many of them with free online access.

Gene blues.

  • Hood, Leroy E.
  • Videos

About this work


An accessible documentary made in the USA drawing on many spokespeople discussing ethical problems raised by scientific advances in genetic research. The documentary reflects some of the issues raised right at the cusp of the start of the human genome project. Exposure to DNA sampling is indicated through a number of examples which may be encountered in public life. In the US, there is a programme where it is required that service personnel routinely give DNA samples. There are two reasons for this; the overt reason is explained by a spokesman for the military, who says that this offers closure in a situation where casualties require identification. An objector speaks about how he wished to opt out of the programme for religious reasons. There is also the suggestion that the military is then free to covertly carry out unspecified research. A similar case is addressed where in an organisation, DNA sampling has occurred. An African-American employee speculates whether this is to access employees risk for conditions such as Sickle Cell Anaemia. The popluation are usually exposed to the ethical issues regarding genetic testing when they are about to become parents. This is giving people a false impression of what DNA testing can deliver. Many parents then terminate a pregnancy if a disability is identified, some under pressure from their insurance company. An African-American mother talks about how they discovered their child had sickle cell anaemia, even though they had a negative test during pregnancy. A case is put forward that there are relatively few actual disabilities at birth. A man discusses his dilemma as he decides whether to be tested for Huntingdon's Chorea. In the US sickle cell anaemia is the most serious genetic disease effecting the African-American population with Cystic Fibrosis effecting the Caucasian population. The role of genes in breast cancer is then studied with the environment being implicated in many cases. A woman explains why she has opted out of being tested, having lost several members of her family. A spokeswoman explains that the science is ahead of public health policy. Finally the programme challenges whether money should be devoted to genetic research when the clear cause of disease is poverty and overwork. A plea to guard our species genetic diversity is then made.


USA : Bullfrog Films, 1997.

Physical description

1 DVD (30 min.) : sound, color, PAL

Creator/production credits

Produced by Melissa Young, Written and Directed by Mark Dworkin and Melissa Young for Bullgfrog Films.

Language note

In English.

Copyright note

Moving Images



  • English

Where to find it

  • LocationStatusAccess
    Closed stores

Permanent link