sábado, 27 de febrero de 2016

Is there a difference between genetic engineering and eugenics?

Is there a difference between genetic engineering and eugenics?

Is there a difference between genetic engineering and eugenics?

It is an oft-raised concern that genetic engineering may one day morph into a eugenics movement. Many are trying to differentiate the two, arguing that genetic engineering as such is merely an exciting scientific development that will help humanity rather enable an insidious ideology.

Writing for the Washington Post recently, journalist Robert Gebelhoff raised some of the ethical questions relevant to new CRISPR gene editing research.

Gebelhoff argues that the issues are not so much scientific as political, and that it will be policy makers who have the power to stop research that oversteps the bounds of good medicine or bioscience.

“In the end, where we draw the line will be a political question. The scientific community has already begun this discussion, but it’s not unreasonable to expect a more involved debate in the near future — one in which the general public will have a greater say in how science will proceed.”
Leading IVF specialist Lord Robert Winston sees the link as being a kind of hubris that could easily develop now that CRIPSR-Cas 9 research on embryos has been legalised:

“With the power of the market and the open information published in journals, I am sure that humans will want to try to ‘enhance' their children and will be prepared large sums to do so.“Anybody undertaking these human experiments is likely to be highly vulnerable when things go wrong - though not as vulnerable of course as the unborn child. This may be an effective deterrent for the time being.”
- See more at: http://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/is-there-a-difference-between-genetic-engineering-and-eugenics/11777#sthash.AfmJMuOp.dpuf


Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr may have been the most influential justice of the past 100 years to serve on the US Supreme Court. He was a Civil War hero, a law professor, the oldest justice ever, and the subject of a best-selling biography and a Hollywood film.
Next year will mark the 90th anniversary of his most famous case, Buck v Bell. The Supreme Court ruled in an 8-1 decision that compulsory eugenic sterilization was constitutional. Holmes wrote the majority opinion in his characteristically crisp prose. As a direct result, many more states passed eugenic laws mandating sterilization of “feeble-minded” men and women. Nazi Germany modelled its even harsher laws on American legislation.
His words summing up the argument for eugenics have become notorious for their cruelty:
It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. Three generations of imbeciles are enough.
The question that haunts the memory of Holmes is: how did he get it so wrong? How did America’s most eminent and admired jurist support an evil policy which played a part in the Nazis’ rationalisation of the Holocaust? Holmes may have been the only justice cited in defence of Nazi war criminals at the Nuremberg trials.
Holmes was not alone, of course. As we report in an article below, eugenics was a wildly popular policy in early 20th century America, especially amongst the better sort of people, like the Boston Brahmins into which Holmes was born. As we enter a new era of do-it-yourself eugenics with better technology for genetic editing, it is urgent to understand why our predecessors were so blind, lest we repeat their mistakes.

Michael Cook

This week in BioEdge

by Michael Cook | Feb 27, 2016
Government report recommends a stop to both altruistic and commercial surrogacy

by Xavier Symons | Feb 27, 2016
It is an oft-raised concern that genetic engineering may one day morph into a eugenics movement.

by Xavier Symons | Feb 27, 2016
In an edition of the Journal of Applied Philosophy released this week, several academics discussed Peter Singer’s influential theory of “speciesism”.

by Xavier Symons | Feb 27, 2016
Oxford academic Neil Levy suggests that “prestige bias” is one factor driving Trump’s rise.

by Michael Cook | Feb 26, 2016
What are the bioethics of tattooing one or both of your eyeballs?

by Michael Cook | Feb 26, 2016
Report recommends most permissive options

by Michael Cook | Feb 25, 2016
Even the Supreme Court justice who wrote, "three generations of imbeciles are enough" was a graduate and former law professor.

by Xavier Symons | Feb 24, 2016
In a word, no.

by Carrie D. Wolinetz and Xavier Symons | Feb 23, 2016
In an exclusive interview with BioEdge, Dr. Carrie D. Wolinetz, Associate Director for Science Policy at the National Institutes of Health, discusses the ethical issues…
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