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6.5. Two Ethical Issues of the Human Genome Project

- Sang Wook Yi
Department of Philosophy,Hanyang University
17 Haengdang-dong, Seongdong-gu,
Seoul 133-791, South Korea
E-mail: dappled@hanyang.ac.kr

Abstract only

It is generally accepted that the Human Genome Project (HGP) has been a success so far. Apart from its scientific merits, it has also raised a number of ethical considerations. Among them, the paper focuses on two issues: the social responsibility of involved scientists in realistically assessing the expected benefits from the HGP and the ethical implications of setting (often implicitly) human 'ideal' type in genetic analysis. Both issues are related to an unjustified doctrine popular among some of the enthusiastic advocates of the HGP, genetic determinism. I discuss how certain misguided beliefs about human development and human evolution could lead to an untenable ethical attitude towards human 'normality'. I argue that the importance of the other human genome project, the Human Genome Diversity Project, should be appreciated more widely along with the role of variations in understanding human 'nature' (if any) and in doing research in applied genetics.

Keywords: the Human Genome Project, social responsibility of scientists, Human 'ideal' type, genetic determinism, the Human Genome Diversity Project

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Eubios Ethics Institute | Book List | TOP - Asian Bioethics in the 21st Century