PBS Program Addresses Practical and Ethical Issues of Genetic Technology

From July 2001 through 2003, Fred Friendly Seminars, in association with Thirteen/WNET, produced a three-part series called Our Genes/Our Choices, which the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) premiered nationally in January 2003 to some 2.3 million viewers.

Key Results

  • Project staff produced a three-part series, Our Genes/Our Choices, in one-hour segments: "Who Gets to Know? Genetics and Privacy"; "Making Better Babies: Genetics & Reproduction"; and "Genes on Trial: Genetics, Behavior and the Law."

  • The series was broadcast in all top 10 markets, 20 of the top 20 markets, 29 of the top 30 markets and 44 of the top 50.

  • The PBS broadcast of the series was accompanied by a promotional campaign for the show, including:

    • 90-minute, live video teleconference called Our Genes/Our Choices: A National Conversation on October 1, 2002. The National Institutes of Health featured the teleconference on the NIH VideoCast website and made it available at no cost.
    • Media publicity that reached an estimated 22 million people.
    • Visibility for the series on the 225 PBS station websites and other public television-oriented sites, such as PBS TeacherSource.
  • In collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History, project staff produced 25,000 copies of a 20-page, full-color program guide, Our Genes/Our Choices: Viewer's Guide to the Television Series.

  • Project staff, collaborating with the American Museum of Natural History, developed a website.