About this topic
Summary Genetic ethics is the study of the moral and political implications of (A) discoveries in the field of genetics (B) advances in genetic technology. For example, a study of the ethical, legal and social issues (ELSI) of (A) and (B) was funded as part of the Human Genome Project, started in 1986 and concluded in 2003, whose main goal was to identify all the genes in the human DNA and determine the sequence of all DNA chemical bases of a human being. Genes are units of biological hereditary information, which can be coded by different molecules (sharing similar characteristics), the most stable of which is the DNA. Since the information stored in genes influences the development of a whole organism, it is often regarded as having special importance, thus raising issues of privacy protection or discrimination. It is also apt to be used in controversial ways, e.g. deciding whether a future human person ought to exist or not (such as in selective preimplantation genetic diagnosis or abortion).  
Key works Harris 1992 argues that it is mandatory to use advances in gene therapy to remove vulnerability to infections and pollutants or to radiation damage. It advances an argument that, beside removing the genetic causes of what we regard today as "disability", it is equally mandatory to retard the ageing process, remove predispositions to heart disease, destroy carcinogens and permit human beings to tolerate other environmental pollutants.  Buchanan et al 2000 focuses on justice in the access to human genetic technology, but considers a broad range of themes and arguments: the moral heredity of eugenics, the distinction between therapy and enhancement, constrains and permissions on parental choices of genetic selection, and the disability critique of liberal eugenics. It maintains a position that is liberal, in that it permits individuals a wide range of choices concerning the genetic endowments of their future children, yet constrains it by blocking interventions which would harm the future person (by reducing future options) or society (by causing an unfair distribution of social goods). Fukuyama 2002 regards genetic technology the practice that will radically change human nature with irreversible moral implications. Genetic technology is thus objectionable, in that undermines the natural presuppositions of egalitarian liberalism. Habermas 2003 defends a principled distinction between gene-therapy to cure disease and genetic manipulation allowing parents to select the traits of future children. The latter is seen as incompatible with egalitarian relationships between human beings and their freedom of choice. 
Introductions Buchanan et al manuscript; Brock 2003.
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  1. Anita L. Allen (2009). The Poetry of Genetics: On the Pitfalls of Popularizing Science. Hypatia 24 (4):247 - 257.
    The role genetic inheritance plays in the way human beings look and behave is a question about the biology of human sexual reproduction, one that scientists connected with the Human Genome Project dashed to answer before the close of the twentieth century. This is also a question about politics, and, it turns out, poetry, because, as the example of Lucretius shows, poetry is an ancient tool for the popularization of science. "Popularization" is a good word for successful efforts to communicate (...)
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  2. Walter F. Bodmer (1987). Human Genetics: The Molecular Challenge. Bioessays 7 (1):41-45.
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  3. Ross Coppel (1989). One View of Genetic Engineering, 15 Years On.Genetic Engineering: Catastrophe or Utopia? By Peter Wheale and Ruth McNally. Harvester-Wheatsheaf, London, 350pp. Hardback �73.50, $66.39; Paperback �10.95, $19.40. [REVIEW] Bioessays 11 (2-3):74-74.
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  4. Melissa Seymour Fahmy (2011). On the Supposed Moral Harm of Selecting for Deafness. Bioethics 25 (3):128-136.
    This paper demonstrates that accounting for the moral harm of selecting for deafness is not as simple or obvious as the widespread negative response from the hearing community would suggest. The central questions addressed by the paper are whether our moral disquiet with regard to selecting for deafness can be adequately defended, and if so, what this might entail. The paper considers several different strategies for accounting for the supposed moral harm of selecting for deafness and concludes that the deaf (...)
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  5. Kim Fortun (2005). Book Reviews: Scott Frickel, Chemical Consequences: Environmental Mutagens, Scientist Activism and the Rise of Genetic Toxicology (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2004), Xiii + 197 Pp., $62.00, $22.95 Paper. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Biology 38 (1):161-163.
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  6. Theodore Friedmann (1985). Science and Society: Scientific and Policy Progress Toward Gene Therapy. Bioessays 3 (1):40-41.
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  7. Mark Greene & Steven Augello (2011). Everworse: What's Wrong with Selecting for Disability? Public Affairs Quarterly 25 (2):131-140.
    In this paper we challenge the moral consensus against selection for disability. Our discussion will concern only those disabilities that are compatible with a life worth living from the point of view of the disabled individual. We will argue that an influential, impersonal argument against selection for disability falls to a counterexample. We will then show how the reach of the counterexample can be broadened to make trouble for anyone who objects to selection for disability. If we are right about (...)
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  8. Christopher L. Griffin Jr & Dov Fox, Disability-Selective Abortion and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
    This Article examines the influence of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on affective attitudes toward children with disabilities and on the incidence of disability-selective abortion. Applying regression analysis to U.S. natality data, we find that the birthrate of children with Down syndrome declined significantly in the years following the ADA's passage. Controlling for technological, demographic, and cultural variables suggests that the ADA may have encouraged prospective parents to prevent the existence of the very class of people the Act was (...)
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  9. A. Milunsky (1985). Genetics and the Law. Bioessays 2 (1):36-37.
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  10. Aubrey Milunsky (1985). Science and Society: Genetics and the Law. Bioessays 2 (1):36-37.
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  11. Karl H. Muench (1984). Education: New Departments of Molecular Genetics? Bioessays 1 (1):36-37.
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  12. Robert A. Weinberg (1988). The Human Genome Sequence: What Will It Do for Us? Bioessays 9 (2-3):91-92.
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Eugenics
  1. Nicholas Agar (2008). Liberal Eugenics: In Defence of Human Enhancement. John Wiley & Sons.
    In this provocative book, philosopher Nicholas Agar defends the idea that parents should be allowed to enhance their children’s characteristics.
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  2. Denis Alexander & Ronald L. Numbers (eds.) (2010). Biology and Ideology From Descartes to Dawkins. The University of Chicago Press.
    An accessible survey, this collection will enlighten historians of science, their students, practicing scientists, and anyone interested in the relationship ...
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  3. Garland E. Allen (2013). “Culling the Herd”: Eugenics and the Conservation Movement in the United States, 1900–1940. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Biology 46 (1):31-72.
    While from a late twentieth- and early twenty-first century perspective, the ideologies of eugenics (controlled reproduction to eliminate the genetically unfit and promote the reproduction of the genetically fit) and environmental conservation and preservation, may seem incompatible, they were promoted simultaneously by a number of figures in the progressive era in the decades between 1900 and 1950. Common to the two movements were the desire to preserve the “best” in both the germ plasm of the human population and natural environments (...)
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  4. Garland E. Allen (2002). The Unfit: History of a Bad Idea. (2001) Elof A. Carlson, New York: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. Bioessays 24 (8):765-766.
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  5. Jonny Anomaly, Public Goods and Procreation.
    Procreation is the ultimate public goods problem. Each new child affects the welfare of many other people, and some (but not all) children produce uncompensated value that future people will enjoy. This essay addresses challenges that arise if we think of procreation and parenting as public goods. These include whether private choices are likely to lead to a socially desirable outcome, and whether changes in laws, social norms, or access to genetic engineering and embryo selection might improve the aggregate outcome (...)
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  6. Jonny Anomaly (forthcoming). Race, Genes, and the Ethics of Belief: A Review of Nicholas Wade, A Troublesome Inheritance. [REVIEW] Hastings Center Report.
  7. M. Berghs (2006). Nursing, Obedience, and Complicity with Eugenics: A Contextual Interpretation of Nursing Morality at the Turn of the Twentieth Century. Journal of Medical Ethics 32 (2):117-122.
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  8. Randall D. Bird & Garland Allen (1981). The J. H. B. Archive Report: The Papers of Harry Hamilton Laughlin, Eugenicist. Journal of the History of Biology 14 (2):339 - 353.
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  9. James Braund & Douglas G. Sutton (2008). The Case of Heinrich Wilhelm Poll (1877-1939): A German-Jewish Geneticist, Eugenicist, Twin Researcher, and Victim of the Nazis. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Biology 41 (1):1 - 35.
    This paper uses a reconstruction of the life and career of Heinrich Poll as a window into developments and professional relationships in the biological sciences in Germany in the period from the beginning of the twentieth century to the Nazi seizure of power in 1933. Poll's intellectual work involved an early transition from morphometric physical anthropology to comparative evolutionary studies, and also found expression in twin research - a field in which he was an acknowledged early pioneer. His advocacy of (...)
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  10. Martin Brüne (2007). On Human Self-Domestication, Psychiatry, and Eugenics. Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 2 (1):21.
    The hypothesis that anatomically modern homo sapiens could have undergone changes akin to those observed in domesticated animals has been contemplated in the biological sciences for at least 150 years. The idea had already plagued philosophers such as Rousseau, who considered the civilisation of man as going against human nature, and eventually.
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  11. Allen Buchanan (2007). Institutions, Beliefs and Ethics: Eugenics as a Case Study. Journal of Political Philosophy 15 (1):22–45.
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  12. Gregory Carey & Irving I. Gottesman (2006). Genes and Antisocial Behavior: Perceived Versus Real Threats to Jurisprudence. Journal of Law, Medicine Ethics 34 (2):342-351.
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  13. Richard Cleminson (2008). Eugenics Without the State: Anarchism in Catalonia, 1900–1937. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 39 (2):232-239.
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  14. Christopher Coenen (ed.) (2010). Die Debatte Über "Human Enhancement": Historische, Philosophische Und Ethische Aspekte der Technologischen Verbesserung des Menschen. Transcript.
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  15. Paul Crook, The New Eugenics? The Ethics of Bio-Technology.
    The history of eugenics is getting tricky. Once regarded as an initially idealistic concept that degenerated into the monstrous Nazi race hygiene project or into an American sterilization assault against the disadvantaged and racially “inferior”, eugenics was deemed to have died after the Second World War, utterly discredited by better biological science and more enlightened social ideas. However recent research has shown that eugenics was more variegated than once thought — there were leftist and “reform” eugenists as well as (...)
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  16. John Davis (2008). Selecting Potential Children and Unconditional Parental Love. Bioethics 22 (5):258–268.
    For now, the best way to select a child's genes is to select a potential child who has those genes, using genetic testing and either selective abortion, sperm and egg donors, or selecting embryos for implantation. Some people even wish to select against genes that are only mildly undesirable, or to select for superior genes. I call this selection drift– the standard for acceptable children is creeping upwards. The President's Council on Bioethics and others have raised the parental <span class='Hi'>love</span> (...)
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  17. Paul Diane, James Lennox & Jim Tabery, Session 1: Eugenics Narrative and Reproductive Engineering.
    Proceedings of the Pittsburgh Workshop in History and Philosophy of Biology, Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, March 23-24 2001 Session 1: Eugenics Narrative and Reproductive Engineering.
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  18. Ezekiel J. Emanuel (1994). Prescribing Our Future: Ethical Challenges in Genetic Counseling (Book). Ethics and Behavior 4 (1):69 – 73.
  19. Alexander Etkind (2008). Beyond Eugenics: The Forgotten Scandal of Hybridizing Humans and Apes. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 39 (2):205-210.
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  20. Paul Lawrence Farber (2005). Book Reviews: Richard Weikart, From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics,and Racism in Germany (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), Xi + 312 Pp., $59.95. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Biology 38 (2):390-391.
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  21. Elizabeth Fenton (2006). Liberal Eugenics & Human Nature: Against Habermas. Hastings Center Report 36 (6):35-42.
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  22. Christopher E. Forth (2005). Breeding Superman: Nietzsche, Race, and Eugenics in Edwardian and Interwar Britain (Review). Journal of Nietzsche Studies 29 (1):79-80.
  23. Dov Fox (2007). The Illiberality of 'Liberal Eugenics'. Ratio 20 (1):1–25.
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  24. F. Fresnel (1998). La stérilisation des handicapés mentaux. Médecine and Droit 1998 (31):12-17.
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  25. Francis Fukuyama (2002). [Book Review] Our Posthuman Future, Consequences of the Biotechnological Revolution. [REVIEW] Hastings Center Report 32 (6):39-40.
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  26. E. Galanakis (1999). Greek Theories on Eugenics. Journal of Medical Ethics 25 (1):60-61.
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  27. D. J. Galton (1998). Greek Theories on Eugenics. Journal of Medical Ethics 24 (4):263-267.
    With the recent developments in the Human Genome Mapping Project and the new technologies that are developing from it there is a renewal of concern about eugenic applications. Francis Galton (b1822, d1911), who developed the subject of eugenics, suggested that the ancient Greeks had contributed very little to social theories of eugenics. In fact the Greeks had a profound interest in methods of supplying their city states with the finest possible progeny. This paper therefore reviews the works of Plato (The (...)
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  28. D. J. Galton & C. J. Galton (1998). Francis Galton: And Eugenics Today. Journal of Medical Ethics 24 (2):99-105.
    Eugenics can be defined as the use of science applied to the qualitative and quantitative improvement of the human genome. The subject was initiated by Francis Galton with considerable support from Charles Darwin in the latter half of the 19th century. Its scope has increased enormously since the recent revolution in molecular genetics. Genetic files can be easily obtained for individuals either antenatally or at birth; somatic gene therapy has been introduced for some rare inborn errors of metabolism; and gene (...)
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  29. Francis Galton (1904). Eugenics: Its Definition, Scope, and Aims. 10 (1):1 - 25.
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  30. Lisa Gannett (2001). Racism and Human Genome Diversity Research: The Ethical Limits of "Population Thinking". Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2001 (3):S479-.
    This paper questions the prevailing historical understanding that scientific racism "retreated" in the 1950s when anthropology adopted the concepts and methods of population genetics and race was recognized to be a social construct and replaced by the concept of population. More accurately, a "populational" concept of race was substituted for a "typological one"-this is demonstrated by looking at the work of Theodosius Dobzhansky circa 1950. The potential for contemporary research in human population genetics to contribute to racism needs to be (...)
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  31. Magdalena Gawin (2008). The Sex Reform Movement and Eugenics in Interwar Poland. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 39 (2):181-186.
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  32. David Gems (1999). Politically Correct Eugenics. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 20 (2):201-213.
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  33. Natalia Gerodetti (2008). Rational Subjects, Marriage Counselling and the Conundrums of Eugenics. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 39 (2):255-262.
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  34. C. Gillespie (1983). Letting Die Severely Handicapped Children. Journal of Medical Ethics 9 (4):231-231.
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  35. R. Gillon (1998). Eugenics, Contraception, Abortion and Ethics. Journal of Medical Ethics 24 (4):219-220.
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  36. R. Gillon (1987). On Sterilising Severely Mentally Handicapped People. Journal of Medical Ethics 13 (2):59-61.
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  37. Sander L. Gilman (2002). A Life of Sir Francis Galton: From African Exploration to the Birth of Eugenics (Review). Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 45 (3):468-470.
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  38. Jonathan Glover (forthcoming). What Sort of People Should There Be? .
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