As technology continues to evolve, genetic modifications and treatments will become more prevalent in our everyday life. With these changes,, many questions will arise. For instance, just because we can, should we? Ethics is all about making personal, cultural, and societal choices. A group of people could have different opinions on an ethical dilemma because of their different backgrounds and values. One must begin to consider different perspectives and decisions that will impact society as well as close loved ones and future generations.
Our theme of Genetically Modified Life refers to many different aspects of the field of genetics. What is natural? What does it mean to be human? What is a “normal” family dynamic? How do new technologies allow us to break those stereotypes? One must weigh the benefits and the potential harms that could come up through the development of these new technologies.
Genetically Modified Life Glossary
- Bioethics is the study of ethical, social, and legal issues that arise in biomedicine and biomedical research. Bioethics includes medical ethics, which focuses on issues in health care; research ethics, which focuses issues in the conduct of research; environmental ethics, which focuses on issues pertaining to the relationship between human activities and the environment, and public health ethics, which addresses ethical issues in public health. (https://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/resources/bioethics/what_is_bioethics/index.cfm)
- A medical procedure whereby an egg is fertilized by sperm in a test tube or elsewhere outside the body. -Google
- Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) enables people with an inheritable condition in their family to avoid passing it on to their children. It involves checking the genes and/or chromosomes of embryos created through IVF. (http://www.hfea.gov.uk/preimplantation-genetic-diagnosis.html)
- “CRISPR-Cas9 is a unique technology that enables geneticists and medical researchers to edit parts of the genome by removing, adding or altering sections of the DNA sequence.
It is currently the simplest, most versatile and precise method of genetic manipulation and is therefore causing a buzz in the science world.” (http://www.yourgenome.org/facts/what-is-crispr-cas9)
- Surrogacy is when another woman carries and gives birth to a baby for the couple who want to have a child. (http://www.hfea.gov.uk/fertility-treatment-options-surrogacy.html)
- (in informal use) a unit of heredity that is transferred from a parent to offspring and is held to determine some characteristic of the offspring.
- (in technical use) a distinct sequence of nucleotides forming part of a chromosome, the order of which determines the order of monomers in a polypeptide or nucleic acid molecule which a cell (or virus) may synthesize.
- For more information: https://www.23andme.com/gen101/genes/
- The sequencing of human DNA in order to discover genetic differences, anomalies, or mutations that may prove pathological. -Google
- “Sperm or ova; in relation to species, the cells of the germline
(unlike somatic cells) bridge the gap between generations” (https://repository.library.georgetown.edu/bitstream/handle/10822/709308/Bioethics%20Glossary.pdf?sequence=1)
- The science of improving a human population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics. Developed largely by Francis Galton as a method of improving the human race, it fell into disfavor only after the perversion of its doctrines by the Nazis. -Google
- The transplantation of normal genes into cells in place of missing or defective ones in order to correct genetic disorders.
- Human enhancement expresses the often difficult determination of utilizing medical and technological advances beyond restorative or otherwise therapeutic purposes. Such enhancements may include such the elective alteration of the human body through augmentation (such as cosmetic surgery for nonmedical purposes) or genetic interventions (such as germline gene therapies and designer babies) as well as attempts to improve or alter functionality such as cognitive or performance enhancement. (https://cbhd.org/category/issues/human-enhancement )
Bioethics in the News
Bioethics in the News Feed
“The bioethics.net website is currently maintained by the editorial staff of The American Journal of Bioethics. In service to anyone interested in bioethics, the website publishes information on the latest journal publications, events, job opportunities and current news. The site now includes original blog authorship by world-renowned bioethicists, as well as being a one-stop-shop for popular syndicated bioethics blogs. Future improvements to the site include an extensive database of resources including info about organizations, centers, and institutions, as well as a glossary of terms.”
Hastings Center Website
“Founded in 1969, The Hastings Center is the world’s first bioethics research institute. It is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of research scholars from multiple disciplines, including philosophy, law, political science, and education. Our team includes other staff members with expertise in communications, publishing, and finance and a worldwide network of elected Fellows, an active board, and an advisory council. The Hastings Center and its scholars produce books, articles, and other publications on ethical questions in medicine, science, and technology that help inform policy, practice, and public understanding.”
Read about case studies relating to genetics. Answer the poll at the end and see what percentage of people would make the same decision.
This is a list of values which the bioethics scholars used when assessing case studies and making arguments.