I'll be a monkey's uncle: a moral challenge to human genetic enhancement research.

Journal Article

The potential for genetic engineering of enhancements to complex human traits has been the subject of vigorous debate for a number of years. Most of the discussion has centered on the possible moral consequences of pursuing enhancements, especially those that might affect complex behaviours and components of personality. Little has been written on the actual process of implementing this technology. This paper presents a 'thought experiment' about the likely form of final preclinical testing for a technology to enhance intelligence as a prototypical multiplex trait. The significance and the potential dangers of implementing enhancements in humans, especially to highly valued traits such as intelligence, would mandate a thorough programme of testing in animals, including non-human primates such as chimpanzees. The implications this would have for researchers, society and, most importantly, the animals themselves are discussed, and the paper concludes with a suggestion for a morally justifiable approach to resolve the tragic question of what to do with research animals who have a cognitive capacity that is close to that of humans.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Rosoff, PM

Published Date

  • October 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 37 / 10

Start / End Page

  • 611 - 615

PubMed ID

  • 21515875

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1473-4257

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1136/jme.2010.042226

Language

  • eng

Conference Location

  • England