David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 14 (3) (1993)
Should we change the human genome? The most general arguments against changing the human genome are here in focus. Distinctions are made between positive and negative gene therapy, between germ-line and somatic therapy, and between therapy where the intention is to benefit a particular individual (a future child) and where the intention is to benefit the human gene-pool.Some standard arguments against gene-therapy are dismissed. Negative somatic therapy is not controversial. Even negative, germ-line therapy is endorsed, if the intention is to cure a certain individual (a future child). In rare cases, positive therapy on somatic cells may be warranted. Germ-line therapy may become a valuable method of preventing harm, through genetic vaccination. If safe methods evolve, it is harmless (though vain), to try to achieve more ambitious goals. Prospective parents should not be prevented from exercising this harmless kind of parental authority.
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