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Anticipating Human Genetic Technology

Project Manager:

What if, through the use of genetic technologies, all children could be born without disabilities? What if they were required to be? Or what if these choices were only open to the wealthy? What if your entire personal genome could be put on a card as small and portable as a credit card? Would you want to know what it said about you? Who else would? How might this information affect the workplace, education, healthcare, insurance, family relations, and other aspects of our society?

Personal Genetics by Casey Bisson on Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA

This discussion guide and the seven contrasting policy possibilities in it are intended to help us explore these and other questions. The discussion guide offers a description of each of these policy possibilities along with some potential consequences that might illustrate their potential real-world implications.

The possibilities can be roughly grouped into three categories:

  1. Policies Focused on an Up or Down Appraisal of Human Genetic Technology
  2. Policies Focused on Distribution and Control Concerns; and
  3. Other Policy Notions

The seven policy possibilities in this discussion guide:

I. Policies Focused on an Up or Down Appraisal of Human Genetic Technology:
A.  Limit human genetic technologies
B.  Embrace human genetic technologies;

II. Policies Focused on Distribution and Control Concerns:
C. Emphasize Individual Choice with Free-Market Distribution of Genetic Technologies
D. Balance Social and Individual Control, Treating Genetic Technologies as Collective Resources for Individual Choice
E. Exert Collective Control for the Good of the Community with Equitable Distribution of Genetic Technologies

III. Other Policy Notions
F.  Provide Seamless Unified Oversight of All Technology
G. Let Policy Evolve with Use.

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