The Evolutionary Biological Implications of Human Genetic Engineering


Authors
Russell Powell
Boston University
Abstract
A common worry about the genetic engineering of human beings is that it will reduce human genetic diversity, creating a biological monoculture that could not only increase our susceptibility to disease but also hasten the extinction of our species. Thus far, however, the evolutionary implications of human genetic modification remain largely unexplored. In this paper, I consider whether the widespread use of genetic engineering technology is likely to narrow the present range of genetic variation, and if so, whether this would in fact lead to the evolutionary harms that some authors envision. By examining the nature of biological variation and its relation to population immunity and evolvability, I show that not only will genetic engineering have a negligible impact on human genetic diversity, but also that it will be more likely to ensure rather than undermine the health and longevity of the human species
Keywords Evolution  Genetic Engineering  Bioethics
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DOI 10.1093/jmp/jhq004
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References found in this work BETA

Enhancement and the Ethics of Development.Allen Buchanan - 2008 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 18 (1):pp. 1-34.
Genealogical Actors in Ecological Roles.David L. Hull - 1987 - Biology and Philosophy 2 (2):168-184.
Reproductive Cloning Combined with Genetic Modification.C. Strong - 2005 - Journal of Medical Ethics 31 (11):654-658.

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Citations of this work BETA

Imposing Genetic Diversity.Robert Sparrow - 2015 - American Journal of Bioethics 15 (6):2-10.
Why Should We Become Posthuman? The Beneficence Argument Questioned.Andrés Pablo Vaccari - 2019 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 44 (2):192-219.

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