Human Genome Project: is Eugenism Coming Back?

Global Bioethics 13 (3-4):15-20 (2000)
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Biologists are faced two questions which are new in their fields. How far to go in genetical research? How should new findings be applied?Theoretically, the answers are not so difficult to find. Research should not be halted or even slowed down. On which basis should we limit knowledge, it would even be on topics such as cancer, AIDS, ageing,…, a crime against humanity not to develop research. Also theoretically, findings would be applied for the good of humanity and for a better health. But, negative consequences can, however, be expected if applications of research, and research itself, serves interests of private companies or of individuals. We cannot deny the advantages of the HGP which are considerable indeed in discovering, isolating, describing, sequencing genes, using in genie therapy,…, developing a better predictive medicine.But rules, and probably laws, will have to be developed to protect the confidentiality of genetical information, the risk being present that insurance companies or employers would use it to discriminate the individuals. People can not be defined only by their genomes. Individuals or populations cannot be stigmatised or ostracised by their genes.



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