The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 15, Issue 2, Summer 2015

Stephanie H. To
Pages 265-285

Human Gene Patents and Human Dignity
The Case of Gene Therapy for β-Thalassemia Major

In Evangelium vitae, Pope St. John Paul II recognized that scientific progress would bring about new attacks on the dignity of the human person. Since that time, remarkable expansion in our knowledge and understanding of the human genome has brought forth questions of ownership rights via patents on human genes and related technology. This article argues that patenting human genes is incompatible with human dignity as it commodifies that which is priceless. In contrast, granting patents to manipulations of human genes does not violate human dignity so long as it is utilized toward the common good. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 15.2 (Summer 2015): 265–285.