Genetic Identity Versus Halachic Identity.
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There are various areas in which genetic testing can prove something about the genetic identity of a person. Sometimes, these genetic implications can potentially have the same halachic ramifications as well, while other times they cannot. Some of these topics are discussed in the paper. For example, the Kohen and Levite “genes” are genetic markers that can give strong genetic evidence that a person is a Kohen or Levite, respectively, yet they do not have ramifications in halacha. In contrast, the “Jewish gene,” which can prove someone to genetically have Jewish roots, can potentially prove someone to be halachically Jewish as well. Furthermore, when a fetus is conceived through in vitro fertilization, egg donation, or surrogate motherhood, the genetic parenthood of the child often conflicts with the halachic parenthood. Finally, DNA fingerprinting can be used to prove someone’s identity genetically, but this identity can only have halachic implications in some cases. The following paper will go through these subjects and discuss them from the perspective of both genetic developments and halacha.
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