Northwestern University

Thu 12:00 PM

The Ethics of Genetically Testing for Athletic Potential - An MHB Colloquium with Silvia Camporesi

When: Thursday, December 13, 2012
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM  

Where: Robert H Lurie Medical Research Center, Searle Seminar Room, 303 E. Superior, Chicago, IL 60611 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public

Contact: Bryan Morrison   1.312.503.1927

Group: Medical Humanities & Bioethics Lunchtime Montgomery Lectures

Category: Academic

More Info


A Bresnahan Colloquium* with

Silvia Camporesi, PhD
Centre for the Humanities & Health,
King’s College London

Bend It Like Beckham:
The Ethics of Genetically Testing Your Children for Athletic Potential

I argued elsewhere that parents should not be allowed to resort to pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) to choose to have deaf children like themselves, on the basis of the rights of children to a (sufficiently) open future and on the limits of parental freedom as contoured by children’s autonomy. In this paper, I want to follow up on that claim and consider a kind of intervention that may at first appear less radical than intervening at the level of PGD to steer and channel a child’s future, but that I find nonetheless quite troublesome. This intervention is the use of genetic tests, sometimes coupled with more traditional methods of ‘talent scouting’, to assess a child’s predisposition to athletic performance. The recent boom of direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests (especially but not only in the US) aimed at measuring children’s athletic potential, and the parental decision in terms of education and investing in the children’s future taken on the basis of the results of those tests, is the starting point for my analysis on the role of parenthood in education, the autonomy of children, and the meaning and role of sports in childhood. In this paper I also discuss the scientific evidence at the basis of these tests.

All are welcome. Please feel free to bring a lunch; we'll provide drinks and dessert.

*colloquium: (ka lo' kwe um) 1. An informal meeting for the exchange of views. 2. An academic seminar on a broad field of study, usually led by a different person at each meeting. [Latin, conversation, from colloqui, to talk together]. This series is named in honor of Professor Emeritus James F. Bresnahan.

Add Event to Calendar

Add Event To My Group:

Please sign-in