David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Medical genetic interventions can be performed in two ways. First, genetic defects may be repaired (gene therapy). Secondly, a possible future individual (an embryo or a possible combination of gametes) may be preselected because of its favourable genetic make-up (by using genetic diagnostic methods and procedures from reproductive medicine so called Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis). The first kind of intervention means that someone gets medical treatment in the normal sense, however, the second kind does not. Rather, in that case, the potential patient is exchanged for another individual who is in no need of treatment. The paper explores to what extent arguments for and against these kinds of genetic intervention apply equally to all of them. For example, may the benefits that can be achieved through gene therapy be equally well achieved through genetic preselection? Are fears of a resurrection of eugenic practices through gene technology more warranted regarding therapeutic interventions than regarding preselective ones (or vice versa)? Since genetic preselection is an intervention at the germ-line level and is presently clinically applied: How is it possible to motivate that clinical application of germ-line gene therapy is not similarily permitted?
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