, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 513-524
Date: 03 May 2012

Human Transgenesis: Definitions, Technical Possibilities and Moral Challenges

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Abstract

In this article, we examine the ethical implications of human transgenesis by considering the phenomenon in its larger evolutionary context. After clarifying the concept of transgenesis, we show that rather than unprecedented or unnatural, transgenesis is a common aspect of the evolutionary process that has likely affected all extant living animals, humans included. Additionally, we demonstrate that human transgenesis is technically feasible and that the moral barriers to it are mostly based on irrational fears premised on distorted and unrealistic views of “human nature”. Furthermore, we suggest that transgenically modifying persons might be morally preferable to relying blindly on the “natural lottery”, and that it is possible to do so in an ethical and responsible manner.