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Ethical Challenges in a Post Genome Era

Charles P. Delisi - Dean, Boston University College of Engineering


  • Efficiency of Cloning in Humans Unknown; Low in Other Vertebrates
  • No Knowledge of Life Span

Kant’s Categorical Imperative

Creating a twin whose purpose is to serve as a replicate violates universal moral principles. It is the extreme version of using another individual to serve one’s own purposes and it displays a profound disregard for the inherent worth of others.

Is a Delayed Genetic Twin a Replicate?

  • Mutations
  • Absence of mitochondrial DNA
  • Environment

The Danger of Extreme Nationalism

  • Different Views of Safety and Responsibility
  • Dangers of the well-intentioned use of Technology

Other Considerations

  • The Obligatory Pursuit of Knowledge
  • The Controlled Use of Technology to Improve the Human Condition
  • Civil Liberties / Freedom of Inquiry

Genomics and Moral Responsibility

  • Diagnostics
  • Cures
  • Cosmetics

Challenges to Civil Liberties: Privacy vs. the Right to Know

  • Insurance
  • Employment
  • Employment to Others
  • Responsibilities to Others

Genomics and Moral Responsibility

  • As Individuals (personal)
  • As a Society (national)
  • As a Family of Human Beings (international)

Email link | Feedback | Contributed by: Boston University. Video adapted from the Issues for the Millennium Workshop

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