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Kennedy Inst Ethics J. 2002 Dec;12(4):343-50.

Revisiting the definition of homo sapiens.

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Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, USA.


Research in genomics, human cloning, and transgenic technology has challenged bioethicists and scientists to rethink the definition of human beings as a species. For example, should the definition incorporate a genetic criterion and how does the capacity to genetically engineer human beings affect the definition of our species? In considering these contemporary bioethical dilemmas, we revisit an ancient source, the Talmud, and highlight how it provides specific biological, cultural, and genetic criteria to define the human species.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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