This book explores instead the potential harm to society if we unfairly distribute the enormous benefits of genetic technologies. The resulting division of society into genetic haves and have-nots would undermine the basic foundation of Western democratic society—the belief in equality of opportunity.
This book explains, in terms that can be understood by the general reader, how DNA works, what the Human Genome Project is, what these genetic technologies are and what they promise, and how they could disrupt our democratic society.
In an original contribution to the literature, the book then discusses the alternatives for avoiding the creation of a genetic underclass, ranging from halting the Human Genome Project itself to making genetic technologies available without regard to ability to pay. The authors' provocative conclusion is that a lottery in which everyone has a chance to obtain access to these technologies is the only feasible option.
This book will be of interest to anyone who wishes to learn more about the Human Genome Project and the genetic revolution that it will create, as well as those who already are familiar with the project and are concerned about the social consequences of its scientific developments.
Designing Our Descendants presents twenty essays by physicians, scientists, philosophers, theologians, lawyers, and policy analysts addressing these issues from diverse perspectives. In three sections, the authors discuss the short- and long-term scientific feasibility of IGM technology; ethical and religious issues related to safety, justice, morality, reproductive rights, and enhancement; and regulatory issues including the necessity of public input and oversight and the influence of commercialization. Their goal is to open a dialogue engaging not only scholars and scientists but also government officials and concerned citizens. The authors conclude that while IGM cannot be carried out safely and responsibly on humans utilizing current methods, it is important to begin public discussion now to determine whether, and if so how, to proceed.-- Eric M. Meslin, Indiana University
Here, Barash sheds light on the actual ethical concerns surrounding various types of genetic technologies, introducing readers to the competing issues at stake in the arguments about the scientific application of the new technologies available and those on the horizon. She begins by illustrating the history of genetic advances, their societal applications, and the ethical issues that have arisen from those applications. Using case studies and examples throughout, she walks readers through the various considerations involved in a variety of areas related to the application of genetic technologies currently available and possible in the future. Covering topics ranging from stem cell research to genetically modified food, genetic mapping to cloning, this book offers a thoughtful approach to the complex issues at play in the various fields of genetic technologies.
Reproduction, Technology, and Rights illuminates the moral and ethical choices that our society faces because of advances in reproductive technology and helps to make those decisions better informed.