Environmental influences, both internal and external, including factors such as gender and temperature work to influence gene expression (Lobo, 2008). Factors such as hormone levels and an organism’s metabolism also work to influence the expression of a particular gene (Lobo, 2008). One such example may be found in the Himalayan snow mountain wherein the pigmentation of the rabbit’s fur will vary depending on the temperature in which the rabbit is raised; the rabbit who is reared at 20 degrees Celsius or less will have areas of black fur, however those that are reared at 30 degrees Celsius or greater will have solid white fur (Lobo, 2008).
Simply because a gene is possessed does not mean that it will be expressed or realized, for in cell biology the question comes down to the gene expression; genes are used selectively, switching genes on and off as the environment of the organism changes, and as a result of the internal and external influences on the organism itself (Garland Science, p. 1).
There are many different ethical considerations associated with genetic screening; among these are the concerns associated with discrimination and the concern regarding selective reproduction in humans (Christenson, 2013). The first ethical concern is associated with the idea that genetic screening will lead to discriminations such as those discussed in “GATTACA” wherein individuals will be unable to gain access to certain resources if they have a genetic predisposition to a certain disorder. The ethical concern associated with human reproduction is that if screening is completed and neonatal concerns are found, the parents will decide to terminate all potentialities that may result in disorders, regardless of whether or not those disorders have a high likelihood of expression.
- Christenson, S. (1998). The ethical considerations of genetic screening. Retrieved from http://www.ndsu.edu
- Garland Science. (2013). Control of gene expression. Retrieved from http://www.garlandscience.com/
- Lobo, I. (2008) Environmental influences on gene expression. Nature Education 1(1). http://www.nature.com/