22-25 July 2021 Jodrell Bank Observatory

Tom Shakespeare: Canaries in the Coalmine

Tom Shakespeare is an academic and broadcaster, author of Genetic Politics: from eugenics to genome and Disability Rights and Wrongs. Formerly a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, he chaired their working group on NIPT which reported in 2018. Previously working for the World Health Organization and then University of East Anglia, he is currently professor of disability research at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Talk: Canaries in the coalmine: Where are we going with prenatal diagnosis and disability?

Canaries in the coalmine? Where are we going with prenatal diagnosis and disability?

There’s now a new technology – Non Invasive Prenatal Testing – which is offered to all pregnant women at 10 weeks. It should provide information, and information is power, and power is expressed through choice. But if the only choice is termination, is that good? And what information is required for a genuine choice? And how far should it go? Is it okay to avoid an unwanted sex of offspring? What other traits might you want to avoid?

There are many mutations in the 3 billion letters of the human genome. How much difference does a ‘spelling mistake’ make to the person? This talk will range through science and ethic to offer a challenging and enlightening picture of the future we are drifting towards.

Days

Friday 2019