CORVALLIS - Wylie Burke, who advises the National Institutes of Health on human genome research, will give a lecture on Thursday, Jan. 31, at Oregon State University that will explore the practical and ethical implications of genetic information.

Her lecture, "Genetics and Health: Is Genetic Knowledge a Tool, a Goal, or a Threat?" begins at 4 p.m. in Memorial Union Room 206. It is free and open to the public.

Burke is a professor at the University of Washington and founding director of the Washington Women's Health Care Center. She has both a medical degree and a doctoral degree, and heads the Department of Medical History and Ethics at the University of Washington.

In her OSU lecture, Burke will explore ways in which knowledge about the human genome may provide new insights into disease mechanisms and possible therapies. She also will point out that some of that same knowledge could be used to identify individuals or groups who are susceptible to particular genetic disorders.

As science advances, she says, people will have to weigh the potential benefits and harms that genetic information may provide.

The lecture is part of an OSU series called "The Human Genome: Historical and Contemporary Issues in Science, Law and Medicine." The lecture series explores the consequences of the completion of the mapping of the human genome by considering the policy and ethical implications of this significant scientific achievement.

The series is sponsored by the Thomas Hart and Mary Jones Horning Endowment in the Humanities at OSU.

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Bob Nye, 541-737-1310