Enabling students to understand and analyse contemporary issues in science and technology

Weblinks for Reproductive Choices

For general information about health and illness, the NHS website has a comprehensive A - Z of conditions. This can be a useful starting point for many of the diseases which could be discussed in this part of the specification.

Behind the Headlines is an excellent website (part of the NHS) which gives the scientific background of health stories that have been in the news, in an easy to understand way. This is an excellent source of information for both student and teacher

The PHG foundation also provides information about genetic stories in the news, and their implications.

A set of informative articles on genetics and society from Nature Scitable

Patterns of inheritance for genetic diseases

DNA from the beginning is a useful primer in basic genetics and inheritance.

Learn Genetics is an excellent resource for many aspects of genetics and ethics. This link will take you to a section dedicated to different genetic diseases.

Cancer Research UK supports research and provides information for patients and carers. The Healthy Living section contains information about the potential risk factors for different forms of cancer.

For more detailed information about genetics and genetic disorders the resources section of the PHG foundation has a number of ‘primers’ which could be used by both teachers and students. Access to these resources requires registration (which is free).

The Human Genome site produced by the Wellcome trust gives overviews of a number of single gene genetic disorders, some of which will be recognised by students and others which are more unusual. It also contains articles looking at different aspects of genes and disease, including multi-gene disorders.

Antenatal testing and screening

A number of sites aimed at pregnant women provide timelines and information about the testing and screening which take place during pregnancy. See for example Babyworld, ivillage, Babycentre, and BUPA. The quality of information that is provided on sites such as these can vary so this is a useful opportunity to encourage students to evaluate the sources of information that they use.

The NHS screening website gives access to technical information about the screening policies currently in place in the NHS.

The Antenatal Screening Web Resource (AnSWeR) provides information about 5 of the most common genetic disorders, and the screening and diagnostic tests that are associated with them.

This hospital website provides a more detailed overview of different antenatal screening and testing procedures.

For a more personal view about the issues raised by antenatal testing, the Health Talk Online site contains short interviews with people talking about their own experiences. There are personal stories which cover most aspects of health, illness and wellbeing, not just about pregnancy.

PBS has a short interesting activity about using DNA fingerprinting to determine paternity.

Fertility Technologies (including IVF and PGD)

The Human Genetics commission has produced a detailed report ‘Making Babies’ about current and future fertility technologies.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) is the independent regulator in the UK for reproductive technologies. The site contains a lot of useful information, including the uses of fertility treatments and PGD.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) provides guidance as to which treatments and medicines should be available within the NHS. They published guidelines and explanations about IVF and other fertility treatments in 2004, with a review due in 2008.

Genetic Counselling

A number of charities and websites provide information about genetic counselling. See for example:
Contact a family
, Cancer Back-up, Genetic Health, and Patient.co.uk.

This article contains an interview with a genetic counsellor.