Journal of Medical Ethics 45 (8):487-488 (2019)

The feature article in this edition outlines and then critically examines the Nuffield Council of Bioethics’ Report, ‘Genome Editing and Human Reproduction: Social and Ethical issues’. While Christopher Gyngell, Hilary Bowman-Smart & Julian Savulescu, ‘support the approach taken by the Nuffield Council’,1 their findings are stronger than those in the Report, arguing that - beyond being permissible - many instances of heritable genome editing will be moral imperatives. A collection of engaging responses to this feature article are provided by Rachel Horton & Anneke M Luccason, Pete Mills, and Sarah Chan. As a short-sighed introvert, I am going to leave aside my concerns about Gyngell’s and colleagues’ account of the weak and unhappy gene pool in which I swim, and instead focus on their talk of moral imperatives. Gyngell and colleagues construct their moral imperative argument by way of analogy. The most straightforward, and perhaps most compelling, claim concerns single gene disorders. I reconstruct the claim in the following way: 1. There is a moral imperative to screen newborns for phenylketonuria. 2. If it were possible, there would be a moral imperative to provide replacement enzyme therapy for PKU. 3. By analogy, if it were possible, there would be a moral imperative to make safe genome edits which prevent PKU. The same analogical interference is claimed in arguments in favour of: editing around 27 mutations associated with coronary heart disease, editing to shift individuals of low or …
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DOI 10.1136/medethics-2019-105729
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Goldilocks and the Two Principles. A Response to Gyngell Et Al.Peter Mills - 2019 - Journal of Medical Ethics 45 (8):524-525.

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