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Displaying: 1-10 of 17 documents


1. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco In This Issue
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2. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Greg Schleppenbach Washington Insider
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3. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Paul Scherz The Mechanism and Applications of CRISPR-Cas9
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The recently developed CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology is transforming basic biomedical research, but it also may have therapeutic applications. This essay examines how the technology works, its possible applications in somatic and germline cell therapy, and the use of gene drives to control disease vectors like mosquito-borne illnesses. While potentially valuable, all of these applications present ethical problems, including the specific risks of unintentional mutations; pre-existing concerns over the relationship between biomedical technology, power, and procreation; and CRISPR’s unintended consequences for the environment.
4. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Jennifer A. Doudna Rewriting the Code of Life: CRISPR Technology and Its Impact on the Future of Humanity
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DNA encodes the information necessary for life, but sometimes this code also leads to disease. Scientists have long envisioned the ability to change the DNA sequence in cells to correct disease-causing information. A technology known as CRISPR now enables precise rewriting of DNA sequences, offering unparalleled potential for altering the code of life in human beings as well as other organisms. CRISPR technology holds the promise of curing genetic disease and provides methods to reshape the biosphere for the benefit of human societies and the environment. However, along with these enormous opportunities come safety risks and ethical concerns. This article discusses the uses of CRISPR technology, its potential applications, and the actions we must take to prepare for future developments.
5. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco Healthier than Healthy: The Moral Case for Therapeutic Enhancement
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How should we morally evaluate protocols to edit the human genome? In this essay, the author argues that the therapy–enhancement distinction commonly used in debates over genetic engineering is not a robust one. Using the example of lipid-lowering pharmacological interventions, he argues that a strong case can be made for the morality of therapeutic enhancements that blur the distinction between therapy and enhancement. He proposes, therefore, that the therapy–enhancement distinction should be replaced by a therapy–nontherapy distinction that acknowledges that some beneficial and morally acceptable therapies are enhancements. However, the benefits–burdens distinction should also be deployed, as it commonly is with other technologies that affect the human person, alongside the therapy–nontherapy distinction, to judge whether a particular technological intervention to edit an individual’s genome should be permitted or not. Gene editing to make patients healthier than healthy should be allowed.
6. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Joseph Tham Resisting the Temptation of Perfection
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With the advance of CRISPR technology, parents will be tempted to create superior offspring who are healthier, smarter, and stronger. In addition to the fact that many of these procedures are considered immoral for Catholics, they could change human nature in radical and possibly disastrous ways. This article focuses on the question of human perfectionism. First, by considering the relationship between human nature and technology, it analyzes whether such advances can improve human nature in addition to curing diseases. Next, it looks at the moral and spiritual dimensions of perfection by analyzing the cardinal virtues. It argues that seeking perfection in the physical sense alone may not be prudent or wise and may produce greater injustices and weaken the human spirit in the long run. Understanding our true calling to perfection can help us resist the temptation of hubris to enhance the human race through technology.
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7. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
David A. Prentice The Genetic Engineering of Animals and Plants and the Boundaries of Stewardship
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Genetic engineering can change the biology of a plant or animal by altering its genome. Historically, selective breeding, induced mutation, and screening have been used to adapt animals and plants for human uses. The advent of specific, more accurate gene editing systems, coupled with cellular and embryological systems for selecting genetically engineered organisms, provides even greater possibilities for altering animals and plants to meet human needs but necessitates an analysis of when and how such tools should be used. Bioethical questions concerning the reasonableness of a genetic experiment, the well-being of the modified organism, the integrity of a species and the environment, and the potential benefit to humans should be addressed before any genetic manipulations are undertaken. Animals and plants can be genetically engineered ethically, but certain lines should not be crossed if we are to be good stewards.
8. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
David Albert Jones Editing Out the Embryo: The Debates over Human Genome Editing in the United Kingdom and the United States
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Two conferences on genome editing held in December 2015 offer a lens through which to contrast bioethics policies in the United Kingdom and the United States. The Progress Educational Trust, which has no parallel in the United States, hosted the London conference and illustrates the close collaboration between government departments, scientific bodies, funding organizations, and lobby groups in the United Kingdom. The rhetoric of responsible regulation used in the United Kingdom protects not the embryo, but the practice of embryo destruction, and advocates of embryo experimentation are eager to guide the debate about genome editing. It would be perilous for the international community to allow the United Kingdom to frame the debate in this way.
9. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Kevin FitzGerald Human Genome Editing: A Catholic Perspective
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With this power to edit our own genes comes the enormous responsibility to determine if, when, how, and why we should, or should not, employ this technology. This article addresses this responsibility from the perspective of the moral tradition and reasoning of the Catholic Church. Past, present, and possible future positions of the Catholic Church regarding human genome manipulation are analyzed in light of the fundamental values that undergird Catholic ethical reasoning, and the significant contributions the Catholic perspective can bring to global deliberations on the responsible use of human genome editing are identified. These contributions represent both opportunities and obligations for the Catholic Church in its continuing tradition of providing health care around the world, especially to those who are the most vulnerable and most in need.
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10. The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Human Genome Editing: Principles of Governance and Summary of Recommendations
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