Wahrman, MZ. 2004.
BH 14:29-41. CELD ID 21497|
Jews have traditionally been willing subjects in genetic research; however, now there is some concern that Jewish people have been stigmatized due to the discovery of a host of defective genes that are prevalent in the Ashkenazi Jewish population. In fact, many other distinct ethnic groups carry unique genetic legacies that include specific genetic disorders. Screening of the Jewish population through programs such as Dor Yeshorim has reduced the number of children born with genetic disorders. In addition, new technologies such as preimplantation genetic diagnosis provide a mechanism, within the parameters or Torah law, for Jewish couples to ensure the birth of healthy children. Gene therapy may provide another approach sanctioned by rabbinic sources to alleviate the suffering of, and perhaps even cure, children born with genetic disorders. Studies on unique groups, including specific Jewish populations, will continue to contribute invaluable data and lead to a more complete understanding of genetic mechanisms of disease and human development.