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Summary This section is on the hypothetical genetic modification of human individuals through genetic engineering and the actual modification of the gene pool through (eugenic or disgenic) genetic selection. The ethics of gene-therapy and genetic selection is especially complex. One issue is whether germ-line (inheritable) genetic modification is more problematic than somatic (non inheritable) gene-therapy, even when comparably safe. Another issue is whether society ought to permit eugenic or disgenic goals to be achieved by genetic selection in the context of advanced reproductive technologies; this relates to (A) what defines a genetic modification or selection as "eugenic" or "disgenic", for instance, is selecting for deafness an instance of "disgenic" selection? (B) Whether eugenic goals are impermissible, permissible or even mandatory, and (C) whether genetic tests are a reliable basis of the achievement of eugenic goals. Another topic of discussions relates to whether there are important moral differences between (I) avoiding the most serious diseases and disabilities, (II) boosting protection from normal harmful circumstances, such as pathogens or pollutants (III) promoting conditions within and above normal human health, that are positively desirable or comparatively advantageous. 
Key works Harris 1992 argues that it is mandatory to modify disabilities through gene-therapy, including many traits that are considered normal or non pathological. Savulescu 2001 argues that parents have a moral obligation to select the best children in the context of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) based on available genetic information. Agar 2008 endorses the liberal version of eugenics, since, unlike early twentieth century eugenics, it is compatible with a pluralism of different conceptions about human flourishing. Against such or similar views,  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. Taking an intermediate position, Buchanan et al 2000 defend a Rawlsian approach to genetic justice, inspired by Buchanan's idea of a genetic decent minimum (Buchanan 1995) and Daniels' normal functioning approach to health care (Daniels 1985). They hold that society has the duty, as a matter of justice, to use gene therapy to correct disease, subject to reasonable resource constrains. In addition to this, in a future society in which genetic enhancements are widespread, normal functioning may require enhanced human capacities. They also attempts to reject the "social model of disability", in an extreme form, while recognising that the classification of X as a disability is, today and in a genetically modified future, society-relative (Silvers 2001).
Introductions Brock 2003 Chadwick 2011 Glover 2008
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  1. Keith Abney (2008). Review of ≪em>the Case Against Perfection≪/Em≫. [REVIEW] Studies in Ethics, Law, and Technology 2 (3).
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  2. 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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  3. Fritz Allhoff (2005). Germ-Line Genetic Enhancement and Rawlsian Primary Goods. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 15 (1):39-56.
    : Genetic interventions raise a host of moral issues and, of its various species, germ-line genetic enhancement is the most morally contentious. This paper surveys various arguments against germ-line enhancement and attempts to demonstrate their inadequacies. A positive argument is advanced in favor of certain forms of germ-line enhancements, which holds that they are morally permissible if and only if they augment Rawlsian primary goods, either directly or by facilitating their acquisition.
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  4. Richard Arneson, Is Moral Theory Perplexed by New Genetic Technology?
    Richard J. Arneson From Choice to Chance: Genes and the Just Society1 intelligently addresses difficult issues at the intersection of medical ethics and the theory of justice. The authors, Dan Brock, Allen Buchanan, Norman Daniels, and Daniel Wikler, repeatedly emphasize their opinion that advances in genetic technology force upon us entirely new ethical questions which previous moral theories lack the resources to resolve.2 The claims that new scientific discoveries render previous moral theories obsolete should be regarded with suspicion. The reader’s (...)
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  5. Marco Azevedo (2013). Human Enhancement: A New Issue in Philosophical Agenda. Princípios. Revista de Filosofia 20 (33):265-303.
    Since before we can remember, humanity aims to overcome its biological limitations; such a goal has certainly played a key role in the advent of technique. However, despite the benefits that technique may bring, the people who make use of it will inevitably be under risk of harm. Even though human technical wisdom consists in attaining the best result without compromising anybody’s safety, misuses are always a possibility in the horizon. Nowadays, technology can be used for more than just improving (...)
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  6. Robert Baker (2002). On Being a Bioethicist: A Review of John H. Evans Playing God?: Human Genetic Engineering and the Rationalization of Public Bioethical Debate. [REVIEW] American Journal of Bioethics 2 (2):65-69.
    (2002). On Being a Bioethicist: A Review of John H. Evans Playing God?: Human Genetic Engineering and the Rationalization of Public Bioethical Debate. The American Journal of Bioethics: Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 65-69.
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  7. Linda Barclay (2003). Genetic Engineering and Autonomous Agency. Journal of Applied Philosophy 20 (3):223–236.
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  8. Roberta M. Berry (2007). The Ethics of Genetic Engineering. Routledge.
    Genetic engineering: past and present as prelude to the future -- Utilitarianism and engineering to maximize welfare -- Deontology: engineering at the edges of disease, disability, difference, and death -- Virtue ethics and engineering for the virtues -- Genetic engineering, fractious problems, and a navigational approach to policymaking.
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  9. Michael Blome-Tillman, Reproductive Cloning, Genetic Engineering and the Autonomy of the Child: The Moral Agent and the Open Future.
  10. Nick Bostrom & Julian Savulescu (2009). Human Enhancement Ethics: The State of the Debate. In . Oxford University Press. 1--22.
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  11. Iain Brassington (2010). Enhancing Evolution and "Enhancing Evolution&Quot;. Bioethics 24 (8):395-402.
    It has been claimed in several places that the new genetic technologies allow humanity to achieve in a generation or two what might take natural selection hundreds of millennia in respect of the elimination of certain diseases and an increase in traits such as intelligence. More radically, it has been suggested that those same technologies could be used to instil characteristics that we might reasonably expect never to appear due to natural selection alone. John Harris, a proponent of this genomic (...)
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  12. Dan Brock (2003). Genetic Engineering. In R. G. Frey & C. H. Wellman (eds.), A Companion to Applied Ethics. Blackwell.
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  13. J. H. Brooke (2004). Commentary On: The Person, the Soul and Genetic Engineering. Journal of Medical Ethics 30 (6):597-600.
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  14. Allen Buchanan (2009). Moral Status and Human Enhancement. Philosophy and Public Affairs 37 (4):346-381.
  15. Allen Buchanan (2008). Enhancement and the Ethics of Development. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 18 (1):pp. 1-34.
    Much of the debate about the ethics of enhancement has proceeded according to two framing assumptions. The first is that although enhancement carries large social risks, the chief benefits of enhancement are to those who are enhanced (or their parents, in the case of enhancing the traits of children). The second is that, because we now understand the wrongs of state-driven eugenics, enhancements, at least in liberal societies, will be personal goods, chosen or not chosen in a market for enhancement (...)
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  16. Allen Buchanan (1996). Choosing Who Will Be Disabled: Genetic Intervention and the Morality of Inclusion. Social Philosophy and Policy 13 (02):18-.
  17. Allen E. Buchanan (2011). Beyond Humanity?: The Ethics of Biomedical Enhancement. Oxford University Press.
    In Beyond Humanity a leading philosopher offers a powerful and controversial exploration of urgent ethical issues concerning human enhancement.
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  18. Allen E. Buchanan (1995). Equal Opportunity and Genetic Intervention. Social Philosophy and Policy 12 (2):105 - 35.
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  19. Allen E. Buchanan, Dan W. Brock, Norman Daniels & Daniel Wikler (2000). From Chance to Choice. Cambridge University Press.
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  20. Allen Buchanan, Tony Cole & Robert O. Keohane (2011). Justice in the Diffusion of Innovation. Journal of Political Philosophy 19 (3):306-332.
  21. T. Chappell (1997). Improving Nature? The Science and Ethics of Genetic Engineering. [REVIEW] Journal of Medical Ethics 23 (5):329-331.
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  22. Larry R. Churchill, Myra L. Collins, Nancy M. R. King, Stephen G. Pemberton & Keith A. Wailoo (1998). Genetic Research as Therapy: Implications of "Gene Therapy" for Informed Consent. Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 26 (1):38-47.
  23. Stephen R. L. Clark (1994). Genetic and Other Engineering. Journal of Applied Philosophy 11 (2):233-237.
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  24. Stephen R. L. Clark (1994). Genetic and Other Engineering. Journal of Applied Philosophy 11 (2):233-237.
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  25. Christopher Coenen (ed.) (2010). Die Debatte Über "Human Enhancement": Historische, Philosophische Und Ethische Aspekte der Technologischen Verbesserung des Menschen. Transcript.
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  26. G. K. D. Crozier & Christopher Hajzler (2010). Market Stimulus and Genomic Justice: Evaluating the Effects of Market Access to Human Germ-Line Enhancement. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 20 (2):161-179.
    In the debates surrounding the ethical dimensions of interventions in the human genome, much attention is paid to determining whether—and if so, how—market access to these technologies ought to be managed in order to maximize social benefit. There are those who advocate a “laissez-faire” free-market approach to the development and use of genetic and genomic interventions. We are sympathetic to this view insofar as we understand the workings of the market stimulus effect. We use the term “market stimulus effect” to (...)
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  27. Bernard D. Davis & H. Tristram Engelhardt (1984). Genetic Engineering: Prospects and Recommendations. Zygon 19 (3):277-280.
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  28. Bram De Jonge & Niels Louwaars (2009). The Diversity of Principles Underlying the Concept of Benefit Sharing. In Evanson C. Kamau & Gerd Winter (eds.), Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and the Law: Solutions for Access and Benefit Sharing. Earthscan.
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  29. Inmaculada de Melo-Martin (2010). Defending Human Enhancement Technologies: Unveiling Normativity. Journal of Medical Ethics 36 (8):483-487.
    Recent advances in biotechnologies have led to speculations about enhancing human beings. Many of the moral arguments presented to defend human enhancement technologies have been limited to discussions of their risks and benefits. The author argues that in so far as ethical arguments focus primarily on risks and benefits of human enhancement technologies, these arguments will be insufficient to provide a robust defence of these technologies. This is so because the belief that an assessment of risks and benefits is a (...)
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  30. Inmaculada de Melo-Martín (2008). Chimeras and Human Dignity. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 18 (4):pp. 331-346.
    Discussions about whether new biomedical technologies threaten or violate human dignity are now common. Indeed, appeals to human dignity have played a central role in national and international debates about whether to allow particular kinds of biomedical investigations. The focus of this paper is on chimera research. I argue here that both those who claim that particular types of human-nonhuman chimera research threaten human dignity and those who argue that such threat does not exist fail to make their case. I (...)
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  31. Castaño de Restrepo, María Patricia, Romeo Casabona & Carlos María (eds.) (2004). Derecho, Genoma Humano y Biotecnología. Temis.
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  32. James J. Delaney (2010). Catholicism, the Human Form, and Genetic Engineering. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 84:75-87.
    In September of 2008, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published Dignitas Personae, which addresses several newly emerging topics in thearea of biomedical ethics. One of these topics is genetic engineering, which we can define as the intentional manipulation of genetic material so as to produce some desired trait or characteristic. Genetic engineering is discussed in Dignitas Personae, but is done so relatively briefly. In this paper, I explore some of the metaphysical and ethical questions that are key (...)
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  33. Scott Eastham (2009). Biotech Time-Bomb: The Side-Effects Are the Main Effects. Hampton Press.
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  34. Andrew Edgar (2009). The Hermeneutic Challenge of Genetic Engineering: Habermas and the Transhumanists. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 12 (2):157-167.
    The purpose of this paper is to explore the impact that developments in transhumanist technologies may have upon human cultures (and thus upon the lifeworld), and to do so by exploring a potential debate between Habermas and the transhumanists. Transhumanists, such as Nick Bostrom, typically see the potential in genetic and other technologies for positively expanding and transcending human nature. In contrast, Habermas is a representative of those who are fearful of this technology, suggesting that it will compound the deleterious (...)
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  35. Ezekiel J. Emanuel (1994). Prescribing Our Future: Ethical Challenges in Genetic Counseling (Book). Ethics and Behavior 4 (1):69 – 73.
  36. Colin Farrelly (2007). Virtue Ethics and Prenatal Genetic Enhancement. Studies in Ethics, Law, and Technology 1 (1).
    In this paper I argue that the virtue ethics tradition can enhance the moral discourse on the ethics of prenatal genetic enhancements in distinctive and valuable ways. Virtue ethics prescribes we adopt a much more provisional stance on the issue of the moral permissibility of prenatal genetic enhancements. A stance that places great care on differentiating between the different stakes involved with developing different phenotypes in our children and the different possible means (environmental vs. genetic manipulation) available to parents for (...)
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  37. Halley S. Faust (2008). Should We Select for Genetic Moral Enhancement? A Thought Experiment Using the Moralkinder (Mk+) Haplotype. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 29 (6):397-416.
    By using preimplantation haplotype diagnosis, prospective parents are able to select embryos to implant through in vitro fertilization. If we knew that the naturally-occurring (but theoretical) MoralKinder (MK+) haplotype would predispose individuals to a higher level of morality than average, is it permissible or obligatory to select for the MK+ haplotype? I.e., is it moral to select for morality? This paper explores the various potential issues that could arise from genetic moral enhancement.
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  38. Joseph F. Fletcher (1974). The Ethics of Genetic Control: Ending Reproductive Roulette. Garden City, N.Y.,Anchor Press.
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  39. Dov Fox, Silver Spoons and Golden Genes: Genetic Engineering and the Egalitarian Ethos.
    This Article considers the moral and legal status of practices that aim to modify traits in human offspring. As advancements in reproductive biotechnology give parents greater power to shape the genetic constitution of their children, an emerging school of legal scholars has ushered in a privatized paradigm of genetic control. Commentators defend a constitutionally protected right to prenatal engineering by appeal to the significance of procreative liberty and the promise of producing future generations who are more likely to have their (...)
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  40. Michael Fuchs (2012). Reshaping Human Intelligence: The Debate About Genetic Enhancement of Cognitive Functions. Human Reproduction and Genetic Ethics 16 (2):165-181.
    Given the technical feasibility, not only scientists but also moral philosophers approve of an intervention in the genetic basis of our intellectual dispositions. Among the features not related to illnesses, intelligence seems to be an especially promising candidate for genetic enhancement, for intelligence is valued in every culture. The paper presents some of the arguments for and against genetic enhancement of intelligence. The author analyses what kind of good increased intelligence is: an instrumental good for the wellbeing of mankind, a (...)
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  41. Francis Fukuyama (2002). 'Our Posthuman Future': Biotechnology as a Threat to Human Nature. fsgbooks.
    In a sense, all technology is biotechnology: machines interacting with human organisms. Technology is designed to overcome the frailties and limitations of human beings in a state of nature -- to make us faster, stronger, longer-lived, smarter, happier. And all technology raises questions about its real contribution to human welfare: are our lives really better for the existence of the automobile, television, nuclear power? These questions are ethical and political, as well as medical; and they even reach to the philosophical (...)
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  42. William Gardner (1995). Can Human Genetic Enhancement Be Prohibited? Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 20 (1):65-84.
    This article seeks to reframe the ethical discussion of genetic enhancement, which is the use of genetic engineering to supply a characteristic that a parent might want in a child that does not involve the treatment or prevention of disease. I consider whether it is likely that enhancement can be successfully prohibited. If genetic enhancement is feasible, it is likely that there will be demand for it because parents compete to produce able children and nations compete to accumulate human capital (...)
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  43. Jack K. Githae (2009). Potential of TK for Conventional Therapy : Prospects and Limits. In Evanson C. Kamau & Gerd Winter (eds.), Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and the Law: Solutions for Access and Benefit Sharing. Earthscan.
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  44. Lyle Glowka (1998). A Guide to Designing Legal Frameworks to Determine Access to Genetic Resources. The World Conservation Union (Iucn).
    This book highlights some of the principles which should be considered by planners, legislative drafters, and policy-makers as they work to develop legal frameworks on access to genetic resources in their countries. Contextual information on the Convention on Biological Diversity and examples of how countries have approached the issue to date are provided.
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  45. Martin Gunderson (2006). Human Rights, Dignity, and the Science of Genetic Engineering. Social Philosophy Today 22:43-57.
    In the past decade several international declarations have called for banning reproductive non-therapeutic and germ-line engineering. Article 11 of UNESCO’s Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights states that practices that are contrary to human dignity such as cloning of human beings should not be permitted. Article 12 of the same declaration restricts genetic applications to the relief from suffering and the improvement of health. The European Council has also taken a strong stand on germ-line genetic engineering in (...)
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  46. Jürgen Habermas (2003). The Future of Human Nature. Polity.
    In this important new book, Jurgen Habermas - the most influential philosopher and social thinker in Germany today - takes up the question of genetic ...
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  47. Jessica Hammond (2010). Genetic Engineering to Avoid Genetic Neglect: From Chance to Responsibility. Bioethics 24 (4):160-169.
    Currently our assessment of whether someone is a good parent depends on the environmental inputs (or lack of such inputs) they give their children. But new genetic intervention technologies, to which we may soon have access, mean that how good a parent is will depend also on the genetic inputs they give their children. Each new piece of available technology threatens to open up another way that we can neglect our children. Our obligations to our children and our susceptibilities to (...)
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  48. John Harris (2007). Enhancing Evolution: The Ethical Case for Making Better People. Princeton University Press.
    In Enhancing Evolution, leading bioethicist John Harris dismantles objections to genetic engineering, stem-cell research, designer babies, and cloning and makes an ethical case for biotechnology that is both forthright and rigorous.
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  49. John Harris (1998). Clones, Genes and Immortality: Ethics and the Genetic Revolution. Oxford University Press.
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  50. John Harris (1992). Wonderwoman and Superman: The Ethics of Human Biotechnology. Oxford University Press.
    Since the birth of the first test-tube baby, Louise Brown, in 1977, we have seen truly remarkable advances in biotechnology. We can now screen the fetus for Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida, and a wide range of genetic disorders. We can rearrange genes in DNA chains and redirect the evolution of species. We can record an individual's genetic fingerprint. And we can potentially insert genes into human DNA that will produce physical warning signs of cancer, allowing early detection. In fact, biotechnology (...)
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