The Moral Significance of the Therapy-Enhancement Distinction in Human Genetics

The therapy-enhancement distinction occupies a central place in contemporary discussions of human genetics and has been the subject of much debate. At a recent conference on gene therapy policy, scientists predicted that within a few years researchers will develop techniques that can be used to enhance human traits. In thinking about the morality of genetic interventions, many writers have defended somatic gene therapy, and some have defended germline gene therapy, but only a handful of writers defend genetic enhancement, or even give it a fair hearing. The mere mention of genetic enhancement makes many people cringe and brings to mind the Nazi eugenics programs, Aldous Huxley's BraveNewWorld, or the recent movie Although many people believe that gene therapy has morally legitimate medical uses, others regard genetic enhancement as morally problematic or decidedly evil
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DOI 10.1017/S0963180100903086
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W. French Anderson (1989). Human Gene Therapy: Why Draw a Line? Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 14 (6):681-693.
Nick Bostrom & Rebecca Roache (2007). Ethical Issues in Human Enhancement. In J. Ryberg, T. Petersen & C. Wolf (eds.), New Waves in Applied Ethics. Palgrave Macmillan 120--152.
Thomas Douglas (2008). Moral Enhancement. Journal of Applied Philosophy 25 (3):228-245.

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