Science policy on medical genetics: Knowledge and values of human heredity in the Swedish Welfare State

Forskningsoutput: KonferensbidragKonferensabstract


Interest in human heredity has a long history in Sweden. In the 1920s the Parliament decided on a State institute for race biology and in the 1930s a sterilization legislation that put eugenics into practice was enacted. During the postwar decades both research and the political-medical practices were successively transformed: medical genetics became established and proclaimed as a new research field, and genetic counseling emerged with an increased emphasis on individual autonomy. The aim of this paper is to explore this development with a focus on the continuing interest in human heredity after World War two. Two interlinked processes are followed: funding of research in medical genetics and the institutionalization of clinical genetics as a new medical specialism within the health care system. Government funding of research in human genetics rapidly expanded in the 1960s with the development of new laboratory techniques and methods and medical genetics developed to an important specialization within biomedicine. From a science policy perspective funding was legitimatized as support of both basic science and applications that could contribute to the development of the welfare state. The increased knowledge of human genetics and the laboratory methods to diagnose genetic diseases formed the basis for clinical genetics that was established in the 1970s. The paper discusses the norms and values concerning health, reproductive choices and quality of life that were intimately linked to this development.


Enheter & grupper

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Historia
StatusPublished - 2015
Peer review utfördJa
EvenemangThe 2015 History of Science Society Annual Meeting - San Francisco, USA
Varaktighet: 2015 nov 192015 nov 22


KonferensThe 2015 History of Science Society Annual Meeting
Förkortad titel2015 HSS Annual Meeting
OrtSan Francisco