The human gene editing debate /

Evans, John Hyde

The human gene editing debate / by John Hyde Evans - New York, NY : Oxford University Press, 2020 - 1 online resource (216, pages) : color illustrations.

Includes bibliographical references and index

I. Introduction -- 1. The first barriers in the human genetic engineering debate -- 2. The CRISPR Era, the national academies report, and the median trait barrier -- 3. Possible barriers further down the slope

Scholars have been debating the ethics of what is now called human gene editing for more than 60 years. This innovative book examines the historical debate and finds that it is set up as a slippery slope, with the ethically consensual acts of human gene editing at the top and the Brave New World or Gattaca at the dystopian bottom. More importantly, what stops the debate from slipping down the slope into unacceptable acts are agreed upon limits, which this book describes as barriers on the slope. The book describes what makes weak and strong barriers, and it shows how the first barriers were built on the slope. The first barrier was between modifying the existing human body (upslope of the barrier and acceptable) and modifying the species (downslope of the barrier and unacceptable). The second was between modifying to combat disease (upslope) and modifying to enhance a person’s abilities (downslope). The book shows how these barriers were weakened and finally knocked over, potentially allowing people to engage in any human gene editing they desired. The book then turns to describing barriers that could be built on the slope and also shows that many commonly advocated barriers are unstable. The debate about human gene editing, as well as many other debates in bioethics, would be greatly improved if participants would consider the insights of this book and only create defensible barriers.

9780197519592 (e-book)

Gene editing--Moral and ethical aspects
Human genetics

QH438.7 / Ev1 2020
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