As a twin, my personal interest in the social context of genetics began almost at birth, as I experienced at first hand, every day, the social implications of my own unusual genetic history. Although my realisation of a deep-seated intellectual passion for biology came to me gradually throughout my life, it is this personal perspective that leads me to be particularly interested in complimenting my major of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology with a minor in Society and Genetics.
As my own experience as a twin has taught me, genetics remains a field of study in which vast areas of knowledge remain to be unlocked and discovered, and every new break-through that occurs has far-reaching impact on society. When three members of my immediate family were diagnosed with cancer, I came to realise that an understanding of genetics is vital to understanding and combatting such life-threatening illnesses at the very root of their relationship to human beings. The study of genetics offers society the hope that diseases and disabilities might one day be eradicated from the genetic make-up of human-beings, empowering people not with drugs, but with knowledge. Beyond this, however, the study of genetics also offers human beings the potential to know themselves at the deepest level possible: to know one’s own genetics is to know irrefutably one’s history, health, race, ability, character, and so on. While my major allows me to pursue this interest through the perspective of science, I am drawn to the wide range of perspectives that a minor focusing on society can offer, allowing me to apply my high standard of learning to wider social issues.
By pursuing a minor in Society and Genetics, therefore, I hope to further my understanding of how biology and genetics can be used to empower people and communities, and to begin what I hope will be a lifetime of work applying my knowledge of science to benefit my own society.