Genetic engineering: Moral aspects and control of practice

  • Vered H. Eisenberg
  • Joseph G. Schenker
News And Views Reproductive Health Care Policies Around The World


Present-day scientific advances have made it possible to use somatic cell gene therapy for the treatment of serious human genetic disease. Gene therapy is enormously important for curing some diseases, otherwise untreatable. The technical ability to perform germline gene alteration is also under way. Society must determine its attitude toward germline alteration and toward intervention for the purpose of genetic enhancement. Eugenic genetics is purely theoretical at present and is likely to remain so for a long time. Articles in the press, sometimes influenced by specific pressure groups, generate public fear that is in most cases unfounded, due to the lack of feasibility of performing the claims voiced in them. Still, society must be concerned about the possibility that gene therapy will be misused in the future. Gene therapy should only be used in ways that maintain human dignity. The best insurance against misuse is a public well informed and not unnecessarily frightened. With proper safeguards imposed by society, gene therapy can be ethically used.


Gene Therapy Autologous Bone Marrow Assist Reproduction Human Genome Project Genetic Enhancement 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vered H. Eisenberg
    • 1
  • Joseph G. Schenker
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyHadassah University Medical CenterJerusalemIsrael

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