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22 Οκτ 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 11 μήνες)

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“Man is now evermore the maker of what he has
made and the doer of what he can do, and most of all
the preparer of what he will be able to do next.” (Hans
Jonas)

Reproductive Technology



Diagnostic technologies


Fertility technologies


Genetic technologies


Genetics
-

informat
ion


Genes are strings of chemicals long enough to give
instructions to the cell, information about which protein to
make and how to use them


Genes are located in the nucleus of each cell of each living
being


DNA: long, complex molecule, arranged in various clusters
of genes called chromosomes


DNA is made up of four similar chemicals (called bases and
abbreviated A, T, C, and G) that are repeated millions or
billions of times throughout a genome. The human
genome, for example, has 3 billion pairs of bases.


A genome is all the DNA in an organism, including its
genes.




Human Genome Project


identify

all the approximately 20,000
-
25,000 genes in
human DNA,


determine

the sequences of the 3 billion chemical base
pairs that make up human DNA,


store

this information in databases,


improve

tools for data analysis,


transfer

related technologies to the private sector, and


address

the ethical, legal, and social issues (ELSI) that
may arise from the project.


Genetic Diseases


Monogenic defects:


Cystic fibrosis


Juvenile diabetes


Down’s syndrome


Tay
-
Sachs


Huntington’s disease


Sickle
-
cell anemia


Polygenic defects: spina bifida, anencephaly



Ethical concerns in genetics


1.
Genetic testing

2.
Genetic screening

3.
Genetic therapy

4.
Genetic enhancement




Suppose you are living twenty
-
five years from now. Suppose that
among the advancements in genetics
is the ability to screen individuals for
particular genetically caused or
influenced disorders and conditions.




Would you want to have such information?


If yes, what kind of information would you want
to have access? Would there be any information
that you would not want to know?


How much would you be willing to pay for such
a screen?


Do you think that society should pay for
anyone’s screening? Why or why not?


Genetic Testing


Genetic tests are designed to identify a problem after
symptoms have appeared


They can also predict future diseases


They can identify healthy people who are carriers of
disease
-
prone genes that will or may affect their offspring



Tests can threaten our privacy


The genetic testing of one individual can threaten the
privacy of other individuals


Genes are the “holy grail”



we are nothing but our genes

Testing Children


Pressures are mounting for prognostic testing of
children without symptoms to detect their status as
carriers or as subjects of a genetic disease that might
develop later in their lives


Biotechnology companies are developing commercial
tests


Will the genetic testing be a net benefit for children
who cannot consent?




Prudential reasoning suggests that
genetic testing in the absence of any threat
to the child in childhood should be
postponed until the child has enough
maturity to make the decision for herself.

Testing Adults for Genetic
Predispositions


Genetic tests showing a higher degree of likelihood for
some forms of Alzheimer’s disease, colon cancer,
ovarian cancer, and breast cancer now exist.


E.g.: testing for BRCA genes, testing for carrier status,



How can we engage in ethical decision
-
making about
genetic testing designed to identify a predisposition to
a disease? Consider that the decision to test or not to
test can profoundly affect the quality of life.






If it were possible to make
genetic alterations, what
characteristics would you want
your children to have?



What would the world be like if

people had only those


characteristics?

Genetic Technologies



Gene therapies



Gene enhancement


Types of Human Gene Transfer


THERAPEUTIC




Intent to
correct

or
prevent

some genetic defect that
causes disease



NON
-
THERAPEUTIC



Concerned with
improving

various genetic traits of the
patient or
permanently

engineering the genetic
endowment of the patient’s
future generation

Therapeutic Gene Transfer

SOMATIC CELL
TRANSFER THERAPY


-

a genetic defect in a body
cell of a patient could be
corrected by using
various enzymes to splice
out the defect and to
splice in a healthy gene


GERM
-
LINE GENE
TRANSFER THERAPY


-
either a genetic defect in
the reproductive cells of
a patient would be
repaired or a genetic
defect in a fertilized
ovum would be
corrected
in vitro

-
Affects future children
and modifies sequences
in a whole line of future
generations

Nontherapeutic Gene Transfer


SOMATIC
ENHANCEMENT
ENGINEERING


-

A particular gene could
be inserted to improve a
normal trait


GERM
-
LINE GENETIC
ENGINEERING

-
Existing genes would be
altered or new ones
inserted into either germ
cells or into a fertilized
ovum

-


How would gene therapy work?


















Arguments in support of genetic manipulation



Utilitarian: produces overall a better group of people
(eugenics)



Libertarian: a matter of individual liberty to decide
what genetic enhancements one wants

Arguments Against Genetic Manipulation



Too risky at this time

we simply don’t know
enough to do this safely


Violates child’s autonomy by choosing a future
for him/her


Playing God

takes on privileged more
appropriate for God than human beings


Unnatural


Risks



There is much that we do not understand about
human genes.


Altering genes may result in changes that we do not
expect.


If these changes can be passed down to future
generations, there is a possibility of catastrophic
results.


We may create pressure for people to use these
techniques.

What’s Natural?


Genetic manipulation strikes many people as
profoundly unnatural, against the natural order and
(sometimes) against God’s order.



Is this merely a subjective feeling, shared by some but
not all, or does it have some stronger foundation?

24

Playing God?


Some critics maintain that altering genes is “playing
God.”



What is the force of this objection?



The argument would be that altering genes can change
future generations to an extent never before possible.



25

What Kind of Restrictions?


What regulation, if any, should apply to genetic
manipulation?


Several models:


The free market/individual liberty model.


Individuals should be allowed to do whatever they want as
long as they do not infringe on the liberty of others.


The government regulation model.


Genetic manipulation should not be permitted unless
explicitly approved by the government.


The government should ban all attempts at genetic
manipulation.


Genetic manipulation is too hazardous and should not be
permitted.

Germ
-
line genetic alteration


Germ
-
line genetic alterations could occur either while the
ova and spermatozoa are separate cells or in early embryos.


Alterations to cells in early embryos are germ
-
line
alterations because the cells are not yet differentiated (not
yet functioning as specific cells, such as brain cells, blood
cells, etc.)


Any alterations made in the undifferentiated cells of an
early embryo will in all that cell’s daughter cells, and some
of the altered cells will function as germ cells.


Thus, a change in the genome of the embryo affects its
future germ cells.


Would you advocate moving forward
with germ
-
line genetic alteration?



Under what circumstances and from
what reasons would you consider it
morally permissible?