Gene Therapy and Genetic Engineering

This sub-project links into the broader human transformation program but focuses on genetic technologies which will be available in the near future. Germ line gene therapy is currently banned and raises profound questions as genetic changes will be passed on to future generations. But it is likely that it will be possible to genetically alter human beings in the future. Artificial chromosomes are being developed which could introduce genetic material never before present in the human species. Genetic engineering could be used to introduce non-human gene sequences and embryo fusion to creation human-non-human chimeras. What are the limits and imperatives to genetically modifying humans? What defines a human person and how does this relate to genetics?

What is the good life for a person and how can genetics contribute broadly to this? What are the consequences of aggregation of individual genetic choices to enhance? What principles should govern choices which have effects on children and other incompetent humans? What are the obligations of the state to its citizens in regard to genetic engineering options (e.g. which of these, if any, should be covered by the State? Should the State fund applied research aimed at developing enhancement options, and if so which ones?). Issues regarding the extent and possible limits to individual self-determination in the use of enhancement options also need to be addressed. Examples will include the genetic enhancement of sporting ability, which will be imminently possible.