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DNAi location: Chronicle>home page The Human Genome Project has provided the tools to determine the Â genes that influence human health and behavior. In the face of this knowledge, will society gravitate toward a prescribed definition of the genetic "right stuff?" Will we look with compassion or disdain on people with genes that predispose them to physical or mental illness? Eugenics was the name of society's first attempt to grapple with these questions. The movement began benignly in England with positive efforts by families to improve their own heredity. Eugenics took a negative turn in America, where 30 states passed sterilization laws in a misguided attempt to limit the spread of mental illnesses and other "dysgenic" traits. Then, the Nazis began their march toward a "final solution" for racial purity with a massive program to sterilize mental patients.
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