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:5/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... Casa Velas, an adults-only boutique hotel in Puerto Vallarta, ... its new wellness suites . The two 1,350 sq. ft. suites which debuted ... services and insuite amenities, from a custom soap selection and in-suite exercise kit to ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... , ... May 25, 2016 , ... America Walks ... Carol Reichbaum, M.S.L., M.S.P.A., of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public ... will enable Ms. Reichbaum and 24 other advocates from around the country to participate ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... "FCPX LUT Intense allows ... your footage," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , With ... and easily add stylish color grades to their footage. A LUT is a Lookup ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... Consumer access to organic foods ... 2016, Kashi®, a maker of whole grain cereals and other plant-based foods, will introduce ... hard red winter wheat processed by Hesco/Dakota Organic Products. , The transitional designation ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 25, 2016 , ... Stern ... firm will be selling the device branded as Stern’s Real Time Monitoring ... to bedbugs to the hotel and motel industry, colleges for use in dormitories, shelters, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/24/2016)... May 24, 2016 Een app ... zodat zij collectief patiënten kunnen behandelen, hun kennis kunnen ... idee achter de nieuwe en revolutionaire MDLinking App, ontwikkeld ... Nederlandse vaatchirurg dr. Hans Flu en oncologisch chirurg dr. ... inmiddels beschikbaar is, wordt op dinsdag 24 mei officieel ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... FLINT, Mich. , May 23, 2016 Diplomat ... the third annual Fellowship and Internship programs. The hands-on ... 12. The full-time, paid Fellowship ... Flint, Michigan . Fellows and interns are ... downtown Flint at the Riverfront ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... , May 23, 2016 ... Devices, Diagnostics and Monitoring, and Vision Care ... Which areas are going to grow at the fastest ... revenues to 2026, assessing data, trends, opportunities and prospects. ... charts, and graphs. Discover the most lucrative areas in ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: