Beyond Nature? Genomic Modification and the Future of Humanity

21 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2018 Last revised: 28 Nov 2018

See all articles by Julia D. Mahoney

Julia D. Mahoney

University of Virginia School of Law

Gil Siegal

University of Virginia School of Law; Kiryat Ono College, Israel

Date Written: August 20, 2018

Abstract

Recent breakthroughs have moved heritable human genetic modification from the realm of science fiction to the cusp of reality, lending urgency to questions regarding how and for what purposes new technologies will be deployed. This article rejects the conventional view that modifying the human genome in ways that promise to extend to later generations poses such grave dangers that efforts to do so should be undertaken--if at all--with extreme caution. Although heritable human genetic modification entails risks, both present and future generations will likely be better served by the aggressive pursuit of further advances. This article also explains how the ease of use of novel interventions such as CRISPR to modify the human genome--what we term "genomic moonshining"--are eroding the ability of government regulators, professional organizations and others to control the creation and dissemination of knowledge.

Keywords: genetics, genome, nature, eugenics, biomedical, bioethics, innovation, inequality, regulation, nonprofit, technology, knowledge, CRISPR

Suggested Citation

Mahoney, Julia D. and Siegal, Gil, Beyond Nature? Genomic Modification and the Future of Humanity (August 20, 2018). Law and Contemporary Problems, Vol. 81, 2018; Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2018-48. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3235412

Julia D. Mahoney (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States
434-924-3942 (Phone)

Gil Siegal

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States
434-243-8541 (Phone)
434-924-3517 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: www.law.virginia.edu/fac/gs6x

Kiryat Ono College, Israel ( email )

104 Zahal St.
Kiryat Ono, 55000
Israel
972-3-50-380-4420 (Phone)
972-3-530-3960 (Fax)

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