Features Teaching Resources

Educational Video Database on Genetic/Reproductive Technologies & Social Issues

While a wealth of literature exists on emerging reproductive and genetic technologies, usable educational resources in other mediums are few and far between.  A new series of videos helps to fill this lacuna, providing engaging, accessible and thought-provoking commentary on the human aspects of biotechnology, science, and medical practice.

The videos feature commentary, remarks, and reflections from over 50 esteemed scholars, including Sheila Jasanoff, Dorothy Roberts, Patricia Williams, Bruce Jennings, David Winickoff, Evelynn Hammonds, Alexander Capron and many others.  The presenters explore a diverse array of topics, including genetic selection, assisted reproductive technologies and their social risks, inequity in biomedical research, the transnational dynamics of contemporary biotechnology, synthetic biology, and how to think about a values-based approach to biopolitics.

Unlike formal conference presentations, the videos are intended to be accessible and to prompt reflection in a broader, interdisciplinary audience. They range from 7 to 15 minutes, a perfect length to show in courses to stimulate discussion or introduce a topic.

These videos were recorded at the 2010 and 2011 plenary sessions at the Tarrytown Meeting, a unique convening that brings together scholars, activists, and scientists working to ensure that human biotechnologies and related emerging technologies support, rather than undermine, social justice, human rights, ecological integrity and the common good. The meetings were convened and organized by the Center for Genetics and Society.  The videos can be found here, arranged into playlists based on their appearance at the conference, or here in their full listing.

One of the videos, “Race Under the Microscope: Biological Misunderstandings of Race,” is explicitly designed to be used for educational purposes. Featuring commentary from a number of experts, the film explores how the science of genetics is inadvertently reinforcing the myth that race is a biological, rather than a social, category, despite the fact that advances in genetics undermine the notion that discrete and distinct racial groups exist at the biological level.

I encourage you to share these videos widely amongst your students, friends and colleagues.


Daniel Sharp is a staff associate at the Center for Genetics and Society (CGS).  For more information regarding educational resources or CGS’s work, contact Daniel at