Is Editing the Genome for Climate Change Adaptation Ethically Justifiable?
AMA Journal of Ethics, December 2017
As climate change progresses, we humans might have to inhabit a world for which we are increasingly maladapted. If we were able to identify genes that directly influence our ability to thrive in a changing climate, would it be ethically justifiable to edit the human genome to enhance our ability to adapt to this new environment? Should we use gene editing not only to prevent significant disease but also to enhance our ability to function in the world? Here I suggest a "4-S framework" for analyzing the justifiability of gene editing that includes these considerations: (1) safety, (2) significance of harm to be averted, (3) succeeding generations, and (4) social consequences.
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