Book Review: Sarah S. Richardson, Sex Itself: The Search for Male and Female in the Human Genome, University of Chicago Press, 2013
Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, 2018
8 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2018
Date Written: May 2, 2018
This review describes the main argument Sarah S. Richardson presents in her book, addressing the transformation of the X and Y chromosomes into "sex" chromosomes and then to "sex itself". It also adds a theoretical discussion that raises speculations regarding the future of "sex itself" in the age of biomedical malleability, in which "biological sex" can potentially be altered at every level of the body: from genitals to hormones and even genes on sex chromosomes. As this book review highlights, innovations in biomedical technologies such as genetic editing that make possible changing our biological sex from the core, would destabilize both the notion that biological sex is generally fixed, and the rest of the moral, ethical and legal implications that attach to this assumption. As the malleability of biological sex increases, more challenges to sex-based policies are expected to appear and trigger new ways of thinking about the significance of “biological sex” to law and policy.
Keywords: Biological Sex, Sex Chromosomes, Gene Editing, CRISPR
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