Below are some discussion questions and an activity that can be used with “Beyond Mendel’s Ghost” by Michael J. Shanahan, Shawn Bauldry, and Jason A. Freeman.  You can find the article  in the Fall 2010 issue of Contexts.

Discussion Questions:

1)    Before reading this article, did you think nature or nurture was a stronger determinant in the lives of human beings? What about now?

2)    The authors stress that sociology and genetics are more intertwined than people realize. If this is the case, should sociologists and geneticists work together? What might this partnership look like?

3)    Some people think genetic research could enable parents to choose their children’s genes, ranging from preventing diseases to choosing skin color, eye color, etc. What are the pros and cons of this possibility? What would the authors most likely say about it?


Pretend you have the ability to choose which genetic characteristics you can pass on to your children. List three that you would select. Why? Compare your list to others in the course.