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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).
    Sandel's book argues against genetic enhancement as an illegitimate expression of a drive to human mastery and a rejection of the proper appreciation of the gift of life. His view combines bad theology with bad virtue ethics, and exemplifies the problem of status quo bias in ethics.
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  2. Nicholas Agar (2013). There Is a Legitimate Place for Human Genetic Enhancement. In Arthur L. Caplan & Robert Arp (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Bioethics. John Wiley & Sons. 25--343.
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  3. 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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  4. Nicholas Agar (1995). Designing Babies: Morally Permissible Ways to Modify the Human Genome. Bioethics 9 (1):1–15.
    My focus in this paper is the question of the moral acceptability of attempts to modify the human genome. Much of the debate in this area has revolved around the distinction between supposedly therapeutic modification on the one hand, and eugenic modification on the other. In the first part of the paper I reject some recent arguments against genetic engineering. In the second part I seek to distinguish between permissible and impermissible forms of intervention in such a way that does (...)
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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. Marco Azevedo (2013). Human Enhancement: A New Issue in Philosophical Agenda. Princípios. Revista de Filosofía 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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  8. Harold W. Baillie, William A. Galston, Sara Goering, Deborah Hellman, Mark Sagoff, Paul B. Thompson, Robert Wachbroit, David T. Wasserman & Richard M. Zaner (2003). Genetic Prospects: Essays on Biotechnology, Ethics, and Public Policy. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
    The essays in this volume apply philosophical analysis to address three kinds of questions: What are the implications of genetic science for our understanding of nature? What might it influence in our conception of human nature? What challenges does genetic science pose for specific issues of private conduct or public policy?
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  9. 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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  10. Linda Barclay (2003). Genetic Engineering and Autonomous Agency. Journal of Applied Philosophy 20 (3):223–236.
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  11. Françoise Baylis & Jason Scott Robert (2004). The Inevitability of Genetic Enhancement Technologies. Bioethics 18 (1):1–26.
    We outline a number of ethical objections to genetic technologies aimed at enhancing human capacities and traits. We then argue that, despite the persuasiveness of some of these objections, they are insufficient to stop the development and use of genetic enhancement technologies. We contend that the inevitability of the technologies results from a particular guiding worldview of humans as masters of the human evolutionary future, and conclude that recognising this worldview points to new directions for ethical thinking about genetic enhancement (...)
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  12. E. M. Berger & B. M. Gert (1991). Genetic Disorders and the Ethical Status of Germ-Line Gene Therapy. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 16 (6):667-683.
    Recombinant DNA technology will soon allow physicians an opportunity to carry out both somatic cell- and Germ-Line gene therapy. While somatic cell gene therapy raises no new ethical problems, gene therapy of gametes, fertilized eggs or early embryos does raise several novel concerns. The first issue discussed here relates to making a distinction between negative and positive eugenics; the second issue deals with the evolutionary consequences of lost genetic diversity. In distinguishing between positive and negative eugenics, the concept of malady (...)
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  13. Roberta Berry (1998). From Involuntary Sterilization to Genetic Enhancement: The Unsettled Legacy of Buck V. Bell. Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics and Public Policy 12 (2):401-448.
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  14. 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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  15. Michael Blome-Tillman, Reproductive Cloning, Genetic Engineering and the Autonomy of the Child: The Moral Agent and the Open Future.
  16. Nick Bostrom & Julian Savulescu (2009). Human Enhancement Ethics: The State of the Debate. In . Oxford University Press. 1--22.
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  17. Iain Brassington (2010). Enhancing Evolution and "Enhancing Evolution". 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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  18. Dan Brock (2003). Genetic Engineering. In R. G. Frey & C. H. Wellman (eds.), A Companion to Applied Ethics. Blackwell.
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  19. J. H. Brooke (2004). Commentary On: The Person, the Soul and Genetic Engineering. Journal of Medical Ethics 30 (6):597-600.
    The far reaching effects of the genetic revolution on our lives as a whole make it difficult to separate the secular and sacred issues involvedIn accepting this opportunity to comment on Dr Polkinghorne’s Templeton Prize lecture, I recognise that there is a significant division between those who would see religious beliefs as irrelevant in the ethical debates concerning new biotechnologies and those who, with Dr Polkinghorne, are willing to look to the major faith traditions for insight into the nature of (...)
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  20. Allen Buchanan (2009). Moral Status and Human Enhancement. Philosophy and Public Affairs 37 (4):346-381.
  21. 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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  22. Allen Buchanan (1996). Choosing Who Will Be Disabled: Genetic Intervention and the Morality of Inclusion. Social Philosophy and Policy 13 (02):18-.
    The Nobel prize-winning molecular biologist Walter Gilbert described the mapping and sequencing of the human genome as “the grail of molecular biology.” The implication, endorsed by enthusiasts for the new genetics, is that possessing a comprehensive knowledge of human genetics, like possessing the Holy Grail, will give us miraculous powers to heal the sick, and to reduce human suffering and disabilities. Indeed, the rhetoric invoked to garner public support for the Human Genome Project appears to appeal to the best of (...)
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  23. 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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  24. Allen E. Buchanan (1995). Equal Opportunity and Genetic Intervention. Social Philosophy and Policy 12 (2):105 - 35.
    What does the prospect of being able to alter a human being's “natural assets” by genetic engineering imply for our understanding of the requirements of justice, and of equal opportunity in particular? Although their proponents are reluctant to admit it, some of the most prominent contemporary theories of justice yield a quite radical conclusion: If safe and effective intervention in the genetic “natural lottery” becomes feasible, there will be at least a strong prima facie case for doing so in the (...)
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  25. Allen E. Buchanan, Dan W. Brock, Norman Daniels & Daniel Wikler (2000). From Chance to Choice. Cambridge University Press.
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  26. Allen Buchanan, Tony Cole & Robert O. Keohane (2011). Justice in the Diffusion of Innovation. Journal of Political Philosophy 19 (3):306-332.
  27. Ruth Chadwick (ed.) (1994). Ethics, Reproduction and Genetic Control. Routledge.
    In this revised edition with a new preface from the editor, leading scientists explain the nature and goals of `test tube' reproduction and genetic engineering, and their eugenic implications. In contrast to the Warnock report, the extended commentary considers the issues in the context of a social ethic rather than the individualist viewpoint.
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  28. 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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  29. Daphne Chia (2013). The Alternative to a Cloned or Genetically Enhanced Child is a Child Genetically Determined by Chance. Asian Bioethics Review 5 (1):73-78.
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  30. 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 & Ethics 26 (1):38-47.
  31. Alan B. Clark, Moral Obligation and the Human Germ-Line Gene Therapy Debate.
    genetic engineering, there are few arguments made for a positive moral obligation to genetic intervention. This is especially so with respect to human germ-line gene therapy. Burke. K. Zimmerman makes one of the few arguments that society and the medical profession have a moral obligation to develop and use human germ-line gene therapy. However, Zimmerman's arguments are vague, and he misses some important points. It is the point of this thesis to criticize and buttress Zimmerman's arguments, and to show that (...)
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  32. Stephen R. L. Clark (1994). Genetic and Other Engineering. Journal of Applied Philosophy 11 (2):233-237.
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  33. Stephen R. L. Clark (1994). Genetic and Other Engineering. Journal of Applied Philosophy 11 (2):233-237.
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  34. Christopher Coenen (ed.) (2010). Die Debatte Über "Human Enhancement": Historische, Philosophische Und Ethische Aspekte der Technologischen Verbesserung des Menschen. Transcript.
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  35. Marilyn E. Coors & Lawrence Hunter (2005). Evaluation of Genetic Enhancement: Will Human Wisdom Properly Acknowledge the Value of Evolution? American Journal of Bioethics 5 (3):21 – 22.
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  36. 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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  37. Bernard D. Davis & H. Tristram Engelhardt (1984). Genetic Engineering: Prospects and Recommendations. Zygon 19 (3):277-280.
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  38. 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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  39. 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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  40. 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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  41. Castaño de Restrepo, María Patricia, Romeo Casabona & Carlos María (eds.) (2004). Derecho, Genoma Humano y Biotecnología. Temis.
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  42. 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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  43. C. Delkeskamp-Hayes (2012). Rethinking the Christian Bioethics of Human Germ Line Genetic Engineering: A Postscript Against the Grain of Contemporary Distortions. Christian Bioethics 18 (2):219-230.
    Unlike (especially) the various Protestantisms, Orthodox Christianity recognizes no fundamentally different problems in the development and (future) application of human germ line genetic engineering (HGGE) than those raised by more traditional medicine. The particular challenges which frame the life of a traditional Christian arise not only in view of “groundbreaking” technological progress and its attendant increase in human power over nature, but permeate already his most simple daily routines. The diverse post-traditional Christianities have ceased confronting such liturgical–ascetical challenges. The quite (...)
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  44. Scott Eastham (2009). Biotech Time-Bomb: The Side-Effects Are the Main Effects. Hampton Press.
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  45. 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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  46. Ezekiel J. Emanuel (1994). Prescribing Our Future: Ethical Challenges in Genetic Counseling (Book). Ethics and Behavior 4 (1):69 – 73.
  47. Colin Farrelly (2007). Genetic Justice Must Track Genetic Complexity. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 17 (01):45-53.
    Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics. What values and principles should inform the regulation of new human genetic technologies (e.g. gene therapy)? To adequately answer this question we need an account of genetic justice. That is, an account of what constitutes a fair distribution of genetic endowments that influence our expected life-time acquisition of natural primary goods (health and vigor, intelligence and imagination). These are goods that every rational person has an interest in (Rawls, 1971). The decisions we now make regarding (...)
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  48. 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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  49. Colin Farrelly (2004). The Genetic Difference Principle. American Journal of Bioethics 4 (2):21 – 28.
    In the newly emerging debates about genetics and justice three distinct principles have begun to emerge concerning what the distributive aim of genetic interventions should be. These principles are: genetic equality, a genetic decent minimum, and the genetic difference principle. In this paper, I examine the rationale of each of these principles and argue that genetic equality and a genetic decent minimum are ill-equipped to tackle what I call the currency problem and the problem of weight. The genetic difference principle (...)
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  50. 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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