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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