PBS Program Addresses Practical and Ethical Issues of Genetic Technology

Fred Friendly seminar on the practical and ethical challenges of advances in 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.