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עמוד בית
Sat, 20.07.24

Perspective

IMAJ | volume

Journal 11, November 2004
pages: 652-657

Germ-Line Engineering and Late-Onset Diseases: The Ethics of Self-Evolution

    Summary

    While some claim that germ-line engineering is a definite possibility, the law in Israel and in most countries states that it should be avoided. This paper suggests that using GLE[1] in order to ‘self-evolve’ (when it becomes safe) is not only inevitable but also morally justified. This paper argues that,  

    • The great achievements of healthcare during the last century, enabling longer life, have made almost everyone prey to late-onset diseases.
    • The conundrum of healthcare allocation is worsening, partly due to late-onset dysfunctional genes that have escaped the barriers of natural selection.
    • Trying to free future generations from late-onset diseases (such as Alzheimer’s for instance) may be considered as ‘eugenics’ but, if pursued freely and justly, is a noble goal.
    • We will be affecting future generations whether or not we use GLE.
    • By definition, GLE might be reversible; it follows therefore that GLE may not necessarily represent the dramatic change inserted in the germ line forever – as is usually suggested.
    • Reproductive freedom and justice are paramount in this scenario. These values are not necessarily incompatible if the right policies are in place.

    [1] GLE = germ line engineering

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