Is it ethical to select advantageous genes and select against disadvantageous genes when having babies? Julian Savulescu, Director of the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics in Oxford, discusses this question with Nigel Warburton. This bonus episode was originally made for Bioethics Bites in association with the Uehiro Centre and made possible by a grant from the Wellcome Trust.
Written in Code — Genes – what are they good for? Absolutely… something. But not everything. Your “genius” genes need to be turned on – and your environment determines that. Find out how to unleash your inner-Einstein, and what scientists learned from studying the famous physicist’s brain. Also, the bizarre notion that your children inherit not just your genes, but also the consequences of your habits – smoking, stress, diet, and other behaviors that turn the genes on. Plus Francis Collins on affordable personal genomes, and a man who decoded his own DNA in under a week.
Homo sapiens have been around for 250,000 years - surely long enough to have become fully evolved?
It was thought that the dramatic extension of life spans during the 20th century eliminated natural selection, but new evidence shows that to be false.
Will selection always be natural, or could postmodern also mean posthuman?
David Koepsell is an author, philosopher, and attorney whose recent research focuses on the nexus of science, technology, ethics, and public policy. He is Assistant Professor, Philosophy Section, Faculty of Technology, Policy, and Management at the Technology University of Delft, in The Netherlands, andSenior Fellow, 3TU Centre for Ethics and Technology, The Netherlands. He is also the author of The Ontology of Cyberspace: Philosophy, Law, and the Future of Intellectual Property, as well as numerous scholarly articles on law, philosophy, science, and ethics. In this interview with D.J. Grothe, David Koepsell discusses the implications of corporations patenting parts of the human genome, and how current patent practices negatively impact basic scientific research in genetics. He reviews the history of the practice of patenting genes and contrasts private ownership of gene sequences found in nature with that of the public ownership of the work of the Human Genome Project. He contrasts discovery with invention, and argues that patents should apply only to the latter. He details the relationship of human genes being patented with the practices of big agribusiness owning engineered crops, such as Monsanto’s "terminator corn." He discusses the ACLU’s recent lawsuit against Myriad Genetics on behalf of scientists and cancer patients, and how it may lead to one of the most important legal battles in the history of biotechnology. He talks about "upstream" and "downstream" patents, and how this impacts genetic research. And he discusses various solutions currently proposed for the problems resulting from private ownership of naturally occurring gene sequences.