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Playing God

Genetic science has opened a moral and political Pandora's box. Should insurance companies have access to genetic information? Is widespread revulsion at the prospect of human cloning justified, or must our values adapt to the new boundaries between chance and choice?

By Ronald Dworkin   May 1999

No other chapter of our science, including cosmology, has been more exciting in recent decades than genetics. And none has been remotely as portentous for the kinds of lives our descendants will lead. Some of the moral and political problems which the new technology presents are in the future. If it becomes possible to clone human beings, for example, or radically to alter the chromosomes of an early foetus to make a child more intelligent or less aggressive, then people will have to decide whether these interventions should be forbidden or not. But many of the problems are already upon…

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