Re: Gene Therapy & Ethics

Brian D Williams (
Wed, 11 Aug 1999 12:11:21 -0700 (PDT)

From: "Robert J. Bradbury" <>

>A few years ago I went to an ethics conference about gene therapy.
>The comments there, Paul's comments and Greg Stock's & John
>Campbell's work (presented by J. C. @ Extro4) regarding adding a
>Human Artificial Chromosome (HAC) to embyros to allow "activation"
>and/or insertion of genes at later life-points leads me to raise
>the following point.

HAC, what a great idea!!! Wish I had one.......

>The *sticky* point in my mind is we are entering the time when
>treatments that are entirely "enhancements", rather than
>"necessities" are available. If the Extropian principles are those
>which should encourage diversity, minimize tyranny,
>manipulation/control by power bodies/majorities (including parents
>or medical authorities), etc., then it would seem to me that --
>Extropians should be fundamentally opposed to all germline or
>childhood gene therapies that are not essential for the survival
>of the individual (to a time where they an give "informed

>Greg & John's work tries to balance on the edge of this by making
>the enhancements "selectable" or "enable-able", but they are still
>making a modification that the child would prefer not to have,
>should they, for whatever reason, grow up to be a human

Great points as usual Robert, I would tend to agree, maybe the HAC could have an autodestruct feature that could be triggered to eliminate itself in case the individual chooses to do so?

Of course we know what the fundamentalists would say...

"fundamentalists are people who've only read one book"

Member, Extropy Institute
Member, Life Extension Foundation
Member, National Rifle Association
Ameritech Data Center Chicago, IL
Member, Local 134 I.B.E.W