Genetic Enhancement


Genetic enhancement is a special form of genetic engineering that aims at improving human organisms, either by producing new traits or by strengthening existing ones. Genetic enhancement is generally distinguished from (genetic) therapy and is often regarded as ethically problematic or even inadmissible.

Keywords: genetic therapy; health; autonomy; risk; somatic versus germ‐line intervention; eugenics


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Council of Europe (2000) Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human Being with regard to the Application of Biology and Medicine: Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine, Oviedo, 4. IV. 1997. European Treaty Series – No. 164. (Reprinted in the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 25(2): 259–266).

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Further Reading

Bartram CR, Beckmann JP, Breyer F, et al. (2000) Humangenetische Diagnostik: Wissenschaftliche Grundlagen und gesellschaftliche Konsequenzen. Berlin, Germany: Springer‐Verlag.

Harris J (1998) Clones, Genes, and Immortality. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Heyd D (1992) Genethics. Moral Issues in the Creation of People. Berkeley, CA: California University Press.

Juengst E (ed.) (1991) Human germ‐line engineering. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 16 [special issue.]

Kitcher P (1996) The Lives to Come. The Genetic Revolution and the Human Possibilities. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Silver L (1998) Remaking Eden. New York, NY: Avon Books.

Walters L and Palmer JG (1996) The Ethics of Human Gene Therapy. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

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How to Cite close
Bayertz, Kurt, and Quante, Michael(Sep 2006) Genetic Enhancement. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0005594]