Gene Research and Ethics – #thriller

Gene_ResearchThe field of genetics has routinely pressed hard against our ethical boundaries, prompting many questions.

We probably all agree that if a family has a propensity for a particular genetic condition it is sensible to test a new foetus to see if the gene has been passed on.  But what if it shows the condition is present? What if there was a test to assess intellect and athletic ability? A means to select particular outcomes?

Testing for propensities towards particular conditions sounds good provided it remains confidential. But what if insurance companies required you to take a test and refused cover based on the outcome? What if an employer required a test and rejected your job application based on the result?

Who defines the ethical framework – medical researchers, politicians, insurance companies?

Now imagine an evangelical sect that wants to use gene research to bring about its prophesies?

dna-cad7

Excerpts from Gene Genie

During the raid of the gene research organisation:

“Raquelle with the San Francisco CSI team outlines the ethical issues:

‘They are in direct convention of all sorts of laws and morals.  It’s not as if they didn’t know, I even found this copy of the President’s Bioethics Committee report displayed in their bookcase upstairs.’

Seeing Mark’s lack of recognition she flicked through it and quoted.

‘It says for example, “Biotechnology and the life sciences have astonished the world in recent years, but they have also disoriented people by raising a whole new set of ethical issues.

‘In response, a new branch of moral philosophy has emerged, bioethics, whose task is to grapple with the ethical challenges of cloning, stem cell research, genetic engineering, in vitro fertilization, drug therapy, new techniques for arresting the aging process, and aspirations to conquer death itself.’

And adds later:

‘…Unlikely, because it’s really all based upon what you believe.  It comes down to your definition of our humanity.  Are we just a complex organism that lives and dies and then that’s it?

‘Or, do we have a soul?  If you believe the latter then the sort of meddling these people are doing is an attack at the very dignity of our humanity and might be threatening our eternal soul.’”

More background:

It is Professor Groves, advisor to the UKs Foreign Secretary, and a confirmed atheist, who researches the Order’s creed;

Samuel Shepherd is the figurehead who challenges his acolytes basic beliefs and inserts his own philosophies and prophecies into their susceptible minds;

Dr Marsha Davenport his geneticist follower, rails against over-population and is the one giving direction to the Order.________________________________________________

See also:

Things that you’re liable

The Caduceus, the double-helix, snakes and creation

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