The project to map the human genetic codes has been widely hailed as a monumental achievement with vast medical promise. Yet the project is also fraught with ambiguities and, Susan Thistlethwaite claims, great potential dangers to society. This important book combines a basic primer on genetic research with ethical reflection by an interdisciplinary team on key questions and a deeper look, in light of such research, at what it means to be human. Part 1 of the book places genetic research in historical perspective, including the historical prickliness between science and religion. It shows how we have gotten from Gregor Mendel's experiments with peas to today's Human Genome Project. Part 2 explores ethical issues posed by genetic testing, screening, and counseling; gene therapy; stem-cell research; dangers of misuse through genetic identification; and engineering of particular populations (violent people, ethnic groups, gays and lesbians). Part 3 explores the possibilities of reconstruing human identity for the coming "biological age." Contributors include Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, Laurel Schneider, Lainie Ross, Theodore W. Jennings Jr., Ken Stone, and Lee Butler.