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Monash Bioeth Rev. 2002 Oct;21(4):S66-81.

The ethics of germ line gene manipulation--a five dimensional debate.

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  • 1Office of Public Policy and Ethics, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland, Australia.


Contributors to the debate surrounding the ethics of germ line gene manipulation have by and large concentrated their efforts on discussions of the potential risks that are associated with the use of this technology. Many international advisory committees have ruled out the acceptability of germ line gene manipulation at least for the time being. The purpose of this work is to generate much needed discussion on the many other ethical issues concerning the implementation of not only germ line gene manipulation but also other related biotechnologies. In this paper I systematically investigate and analyse the most salient issues put forward by proponents and opponents alike. I argue that if germ line manipulation proves to be a safe and effective procedure, then the principle of beneficence imposes on the medical profession a moral duty to pursue the technology.

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