Human Dignity and Gene Editing: Additional Support for Raposo’s Arguments

Abstract

The aim of the present paper is to reinforce some of the affirmations made by Vera Lucia Raposo in a recent paper published by the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry. According to her, germline gene editing does not violate human dignity at all. This article offers some complementary ideas supporting her statement. In particular, four main arguments are stressed. Firstly, not only is the idea of human dignity unclear, but the idea of the human genome suffers from a general lack of concreteness, which has dramatic consequences for the debate. Secondly, it is highlighted that if we believe that the immutability of the human genome underpins human dignity, then it should be our duty to use the tools of genetic modification to reverse any accidental changes that occur in nature. Thirdly, it is showed that if the alteration of germline constitutes an attack on human dignity, then we should also refrain from performing medical practices such as chemotherapy, which cause precisely this effect. Finally, we argue that modification of germline is not contrary to human dignity but an excellent expression of our autonomy.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    In the context of this text, this term refers to the edition of human germline genome.

  2. 2.

    In the text, this term refers to all possible genetic variations of the human species.

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Acknowledgements

Iñigo de Miguel Beriain’s work was supported by the Government of the Basque Country, Grant IT-1066-16 and the EU Commission, H2020 SWAFS Programme, PANELFIT Project, research grant number 788039.

Funding

Iñigo de Miguel Beriain’s work was supported by the Government of the Basque Country, Grant IT-1066-16 and the EU Commission, H2020 SWAFS Programme, PANELFIT Project, research grant number 788039.

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Correspondence to Iñigo de Miguel Beriain.

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de Miguel Beriain, I., Sanz, B. Human Dignity and Gene Editing: Additional Support for Raposo’s Arguments. Bioethical Inquiry 17, 165–168 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11673-020-09969-8

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Keywords

  • Gene editing
  • Human dignity
  • CRISPR
  • Enhancement