We hope that this project will engage students in dialogue about the role of genetics in health and behavior, the promise and challenge associated with genetic research, and the ethical issues surrounding genetics. The topic is rich for many different discussion directions to engage VCU students with the possibility to integrate into themes across the curricula in departments ranging from the sciences to the arts. We hope that faculty across many departments will consider incorporating themes from the Spit for Science project into their courses, as appropriate.

Our Resources page provides information about websites that contain a wealth of educational materials about genetics, including downloadable presentations that can be used for educational purposes. If you would like a member of the Spit for Science research team to come talk in your class, please e-mail us at spit4science@vcu.edu.

Here are just a few questions that may help engage students in discussion:

  1. What kinds of outcomes do you think are genetically influenced? What outcomes do you think are mostly environmental? What does the research say about whether your guesses were right?
  2. How do you think genetics will change the practice of medicine (or will it)?
  3. Would you want to be tested to know if you were genetically more at risk for an outcome? What kind of outcomes would you want to be tested for? What kind of outcomes wouldn't you want to be tested for?
  4. Should insurance companies be allowed to use genetic information in their risk calculations? Should employers?
  5. What are the legal implications of genetic research? Should genetic information be used in reducing culpability? Should it be used in sentencing? If so, how? Should sentences be longer or shorter for those convicted individuals who had a genetic predisposition?
  6. Should parents be allowed to select genetic traits in their children? What kinds of traits are OK to select and which ones aren't? Blue eyes or brown eyes? Personality traits? Intelligence?
  7. How does our rapidly increasing knowledge of genetics shape the way that we view free will and ourselves?

Keep in Touch!

Have you incorporated themes related to Spit for Science into your classroom? Are there other ways that you would like to incorporate Spit for Science into your classroom? Have you come across any interesting or relevant articles on topics pertaining to Spit for Science? Please, let us know! We would like to use this website to disseminate educational materials and ideas, and we would love your input!