Genetics and Genetic Research

A Conceptual and Social History of Behavioral Genetics
Ken Schaffner received funding from the National Science Foundation write Behaving: What's Genetic, What's Not, and Why Should We Care? (Oxford University Press, 2016). Opening with an imagined dialog between a behavior genetics expert and a judge to tease out of some of the issues in quantitative genetics and molecular genetics, the book proceeds to address the “developmentalist challenge” to behavioral genetics and to dichotomized nature-nurture thinking, as well as different senses of ‘reduction’, and includes an examination of schizophrenia genetics before the concluding chapter that takes up traditional philosophical considerations of free will and responsibility.

Depression and Genetic Research
As part of the Research Network Development Core of the Department of Psychiatry’s Advanced Center for Interventions and Services Research (ACISR) for the Study of Late-life Mood Disorders, Lisa Parker and Valerie Satkoske designed an exploratory qualitative project to understand the attitudes of African-American and White elders toward participation in genetic research, including pharmacogenetic/genomic research, on depression. They then published their analysis and recommendations to address concerns about injustice in genetic research and in the implementation of pharmacogenomic testing in healthcare, in “Ethical Dimensions of Disparities in Depression Research and Treatment in the Pharmacogenomic Era” in Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics (2012).

Ethical Issues in Genetic Research
Lisa Parker’s research program on the ethics of genetic research has resulted in multiple manuscripts on the ethical conduct of family studies, recruitment to genetic research, classroom-use of personal genetic test results as an aid to learning, management of incidental findings, return of individual research results, genetic enhancement, precision medicine, and the All of Us Research Program.

Prenatal Sequencing
Greer Donley has examined ethical considerations in prenatal whole genome sequencing.