Eugenics, the Genome, and Human Rights

Medicine Studies 1 (2):85-93 (2009)

This article assesses the potential impact of current genomics research on human rights against the backdrop of the eugenics movement in the English-speaking world during first third of the twentieth century, The echo of eugenic interventions in societies far beyond Nazi Germany reverberates in the ethical debates triggered by the potential inherent in recent molecular biological developments. Mandatory eugenic restrictions of reproductive freedom seem less likely in countries committed to civil liberties than under authoritarian governments. More likely, consumer choice might sustain a trend towards voluntary “improvement” of biological inheritance in the future. However, the increasing availability of genetic information and the patenting of human genes may lead, respectively, to a loss of reproductive autonomy and a reduction in equitable access to medical care; hence new regulations and/or legislation may be required to ensure appropriate control over genetic information and use of intellectual property rights in human genes
Keywords Eugenics  Human genome project  Human rights  Intellectual property  Gene patents  Reproductive autonomy
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s12376-009-0010-z
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 46,223
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Controlling Human Heredity: 1865 to the Present.Diane B. Paul & Marouf A. Hasian - 1998 - Journal of the History of Biology 31 (2):292-295.
Sex, Race, and Science: Eugenics in the Deep South.Edward J. Larson - 1996 - Journal of the History of Biology 29 (2):320-322.
Racial Hygiene.Robert Proctor - 1988 - Harvard University Press.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Basing Science Ethics on Respect for Human Dignity.Mehmet Aközer & Emel Aközer - 2016 - Science and Engineering Ethics 22 (6):1627-1647.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Property Rights in Genetic Information.Richard A. Spinello - 2004 - Ethics and Information Technology 6 (1):29-42.
Human Rights and Human Well-Being.William Talbott - 2010 - Oxford University Press.
New Technologies and Human Rights.Thérèse Murphy (ed.) - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
Ethical Questions in the Age of the New Eugenics.Neil I. Wiener & David L. Wiesenthal - 1999 - Science and Engineering Ethics 5 (3):383-394.
The Prohibition on Eugenics and Reproductive Liberty.Jacqueline A. Laing - 2006 - University of New South Wales Law Journal 29:261-266.
Are Pharmaceutical Patents Protected by Human Rights?Joseph Millum - 2008 - Journal of Medical Ethics 34 (11):e25-e25.
Privacy and the Human Genome Project.David L. Wiesenthal & Neil I. Wiener - 1996 - Ethics and Behavior 6 (3):189 – 202.


Added to PP index

Total views
46 ( #193,082 of 2,285,756 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #573,699 of 2,285,756 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature