Navigation Links
CWRU's Maxwell J. Mehlman's book examines issues emerging in genetic engineering
Date:10/25/2012

CLEVELAND Someday soon, men and women could be able to direct human evolution possibly to the point where parents could prevent passing on an inherent disease to their children, or space explorers might become more suited for travel to other planets.

In his new book officially published in October 2012, Maxwell J. Mehlman examines matters of law and bioethics certain to emerge.

Transhumanist Dreams and Dystopian Nightmares: The Promise and Peril of Genetic Engineering (Johns Hopkins University Press) is about balancing genetic innovation with caution. Natural evolution is a gradual process. Advances in genetic engineering are changing that picture with ways to improve human mental and physical capacities.

Mehlman is Arthur E. Petersilge Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. He is co-director of The Law-Medicine Center at the university's law school and a professor of biomedical ethics at Case Western Reserve's School of Medicine.

With available technology, parents will be able to make crucial decisions about forming the next generation. Reproductive cells can be altered, for example, to remove risk of a disease passing to offspring. Mehlman refers to such genetic design as "evolutionary engineering."

In his book, Mehlman explains that "transhumanists" are those who are certain humanity can be improved and are convinced that evolutionary engineering will make humans disease-free, long-lived and perhaps even immortal, resilient to environmental change, and adaptable to new habitats.

"Quite literally, it could be our ticket to the stars," he writes.

He acknowledges that there are those whose belief systems are threatened by directed evolution. There are also concerns among members in the scientific community, who point to the intricacies of genetics and a need to better understand interactions between genes and the environment.

Despite concerns, technology advances. Mehlman points to an emerging bank of information developed through the Human Genome Project, the well-known research effort to determine in detail the sequences of the chemical base pairs that make up human DNA.

"Now, the process is highly automated, and massive amounts of DNA are sequenced simultaneously. Decoding has become not only much faster, but more accurate and much less expensive," he explains.

Researchers are becoming more adept at linking genetic information with specific human characteristics and at manipulating DNA to change human characteristics

Mehlman argues that scientists, whether optimistic or dubious, tend to agree on two things: However long it will take to perfect the process, it is inevitable that humans will attempt to control their evolutionary future, and in trying to direct their evolution, humans are bound to make mistakes.

The challenge, says Mehlman, is to minimize the harm to children who are engineered and their descendants, and to prevent the destruction of the human lineage. Mehlman identifies the social and legal tools that will be needed and explains how they must be wielded.

He writes: "Rather than just passing genes on to our offspring the way those before us did, we are acquiring the technological wherewithal to reconstruct those genes. If we botch it, children will suffer, the lineage may die out, and that will be that. If we succeed, we will earn the gratitude of our descendants. It seems to me that we owe it to all those ancestors and to all those potential descendants to get it right. We also owe it to each other. "


'/>"/>

Contact: Marv Kropko
mrk107@case.edu
216-368-6890
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Naylor earns GSAs 2012 Maxwell A. Pollack Award for Productive Aging
2. American Physiological Society’s October conference examines the integrative biology of exercise
3. New study examines how ocean energy impacts life in the deep sea
4. Study examines association between Parkinson disease, cancer
5. ASGE initiative examines real-time imaging of Barretts esophagus
6. Study examines factors associated with improvement in survival from heart attack in France
7. Study examines the relationship between marriage and alcohol
8. New study examines injuries to US workers with disabilities
9. Study examines characteristics, risk factors among HIV-positive persons born outside the US
10. Study examines role of seasonal prescribing changes in antibiotic resistance
11. Study examines how parenthood affects gay couples health, HIV risk
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/25/2016)... California (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... "With ... fit their specific project," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. ... customizable and all within Final Cut Pro X . Simply select a ProHand ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, Dr. ... his M.D from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained in ... to complete his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where he ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health ... of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , The Wellness at Work Awards ... at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was one of 42 businesses to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... A recent ... most people are unfamiliar with. The article goes on to state that individuals are ... many of these less common operations such as calf and cheek reduction. The Los ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... June 19, 2016 is World Sickle Cell Observance Day. ... the benefits of holistic treatments, Serenity Recovery Center of Marne, Michigan, has ... , Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a disorder of the red blood cells, which ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016   Pulmatrix, Inc ., (NASDAQ: ... drugs, announced today that it was added to the ... its comprehensive set of U.S. and global equity indexes ... important milestone for Pulmatrix," said Chief Executive Officer ... our progress in developing drugs for crucial unmet medical ...
(Date:6/24/2016)...  Arkis BioSciences, a leading innovator in the ... cerebrospinal fluid treatments, today announced it has secured ... led by Innova Memphis, followed by Angel Capital ... Arkis, new financing will accelerate the commercialization of ... of its in-licensed Endexo® technology. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the addition ... 2022" report to their offering. ... with kidney failure, it replaces the function of kidneys by ... and thus the treatment helps to keep the patient body,s ... Increasing number of ESRD patients & substantial healthcare ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: