Emerging Normative Problems of Genomics

The administrators of the human genome project were eager to stimulate public discussion, academic debate, legal and legislative deliberation of how individuals and institutions should respond to the revolution in genomics. Paramount among the issues whose discussion they encouraged are three obvious matters: The threat which access to our genetic information poses for heath insurance, employment, and social discrimination the nefarious consequences for scientific advance of turning basic scientific discoveries about genomes into private property The permissibility of prenatal genetic screening, germline therapy, cloning and other in- vitro reproductive processes. It should not be surprising that there is a great deal of uniformity of views about most of the problems that come under these three headings. For they do not raise issues different in kind from those we faced in bioethics before the genomic revolution. Even starting from divergent moral theories, by and large people have come to broadly similar conclusions about which newly available choices are morally permissible and which are not. Our moral intuitions and articulated moral theory have stood us in good stead, providing substantial grounds for disapproving new genomically inspired examples of old practices–like eugenics, the paternalism of health-care experts, and the sacrifice of individual rights to..
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