Item – Thèses Canada

Numéro d'OCLC
Everson, Theodore William,1968-
Genetics and health in context :genome research funding and the construction of genetic disease.
Ph. D. -- University of Toronto, 2006
Ottawa :Library and Archives Canada = Bibliothèque et Archives Canada,[2007]
3 microfiches
Includes bibliographical references.
The incorporation into public health theory, policy, and practice of the notion of genetic susceptibility to various common illnesses is, for many, the fulfillment of the Human Genome Project (HGP); many see the project as a precipitator of a medical revolution. But HGP advocates have also been criticized for ignoring the fundamentally environmental nature of most health problems. Despite these criticisms, a genetic approach to health and illness has rapidly become incorporated into various public health policies. In this thesis I analyze and critique the claims of proponents of a genetic approach to illness, and I consider the various sources---scientific, social, political, and economic---from which the approach originated and grew in prominence. Following a description and critical analysis of the genetic approach to health and illness, I describe the history of medical genetics and molecular biology, and the convergence of both disciplines following the development of recombinant DNA technology; a crucial factor in this convergence was the expansion of the concept of genetic disease to encompass the most central and salient concerns of modern medicine. I then describe the centrality of recombinant DNA technology to biotechnology as an industry, in order to demonstrate the economic forces that have been crucial in facilitating the rise in social prominence of the genetic approach to health and illness. Following a description of the Human Genome Project, arguably the strongest example of a growing commitment to the concept of genetic illness, I describe as a case study Canada's growing commitments to genome research, in order to demonstrate the complexity of interaction between genomics and biotechnology---that is, between the social construction of genetic disease and the economic forces that have been a central component of its growing popularity. The debates and controversies surrounding the genetic approach to health, the social history of scientific communities from which such an approach emerged, and the broader political economy in which it exists, reveal that the creation and expansion of the concept of genetic disease is not simply a consequence of the disinterested interpretation of the natural (biological) world. Instead, it is a social construct, grounded in contingent historical circumstances that are the subject of this thesis.