Eugenics, the Genome, and Human Rights

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

Abstract
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
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DOI 10.1007/s12376-009-0010-z
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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.

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