Genetics as Social Policy

Ethical issues arise when we consider the possibility of turning genetic testing into social policy. Some suggest that all parents be tested for genetic diseases in order to avoid the social and personal costs of genetic impairment. Others worry that this will lead to a coercive policy of abortion or of preventing parents from having children. Such policies raise still further issues when they are directed to certain ends, as they are with eugenics. Eugenics is the practice of manipulating the genes of offspring through either breeding or genetics alteration.  Should we attempt to eliminate some or all genetic abnormalities? Should we attempt to improve the race of human being by increasing intelligence through genetic selection?

Scientist are not only involved with genetic testing, they are also engage in an enterprise called “the human genome project”  The task is to ‘map’ the 100,000 genes that make up the 46 chromosomes, which altogether comprise the ‘human genome’. The genome is the blueprint contained in each cell that guides the development of of human being. The ethical worries regarding this issue is more vague; they have as much as to do with the idea of human possessing such “God-like” knowledge as they have to do with application of knowledge. From certain theological points of view, the mere possession of such profound knowledge is immoral; only God should have such knowledge. The idea is that the attempt to gain such knowledge is hubris or excessive pride. It is suggested that we leave such knowledge to God and concern ourselves with more mundane task.

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