Noted Bioethicst Discusses Lifestyle Impact of Genetic Information in Lawrence University Address

Glenn McGee, one of the country’s best-known and most often-quoted bioethicists, examines the ways genetic information may soon be used in radically new ways at home, at work and at leisure in a Edward F. Mielke Lecture Series in Biomedical Ethics address at Lawrence University.

McGee, the associate director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, presents “The User’s Guide to Having a Genome: Why Genetics Will Change Who You Marry, What Kind of Life You Have, or How You Make Most of Your Decisions,” Wednesday, Jan 28 at 7 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium on the Lawrence campus. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The author of the 2003 book, “Beyond Genetics: Putting the Power of DNA to Work in Your Life,” McGee envisions a world in the not-too-distant future where individuals will be able to do genetic testing at home with a device no bigger than a palm pilot and genetic manipulation will permit the creation of custom wonder drugs, engineered foods and even designer babies.

McGee cautions, however, that many important questions — who will own the knowledge gained from our genes, who will help us interpret the information and, perhaps the most basic of all, are these new genetic advances even desireable — need to be addressed before that technology is unleashed.

A specialist in ethical, legal, economic and social issues in biotechnology and biomedical sciences, especially reproductive genetics, stem cells and genomics, McGee is also the author of the 1997 book, “The Perfect Baby: Parenthood in the New World of Cloning and Genetics,” which has become the country’s best-selling book on genetics on parenthood. He also edited the book, “The Human Cloning Debate,” which offers arguments for and against cloning from scientific, philosophical and religious perspectives.

McGee, who earned his Ph.D. in 1994 from Vanderbilt University, where he served as the coordinator of the program in ethics and genetics. He joined the Bioethics Center at the University of Pennsylvania in 1995.