The role of human genetics in society: implications for legal involvement
Gericke GS.
Department of Human Genetics,
University of Pretoria,
Republic of South Africa.
Med Law. 1990;9(3):930-8.


The tools and techniques of human genetics are very much part of medicine in the 1990s and beyond. Man's motivation for self improvement has been an integral part of his make-up since time immemorial. The human desire for preserving the fittest and weeding out the worst remains the same since stone-age man practised castration, coitus interruptus, mechanical contraception, urethral surgery, abortion, infanticide, infant cannibalism, delayed lactation and geronticide. During the intervening centuries there have been scores of attempts to develop dream states; at forced mass migration, or to protect social order by casting out the unwanted under various guises. For the first time we are catching a glimpse of the possibility of significantly altering our genetic constitution, supplying us with the tools to realize very deep seated instincts, but without adequate knowledge of all the dangers. It is foreseen that the law has an important contribution in maintaining the balance between seemingly conflicting interests of the individual, the community, the state and genetic research scientists. There is a need for pro-active involvement in the author's opinion.
'Designer babies'
Procreative liberty
Personal genomics
Genetic enhancement
Human self-domestication
Germline genetic engineering
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis
Beneficence, determinism and justice
'The Principle of Procreative Beneficence'
Gene therapy and performance enhancement
Genetic risk factors in ischaemic heart disease

and further reading

BLTC Research
Utopian Surgery?
The Good Drug Guide
The Abolitionist Project
The Hedonistic Imperative
The Reproductive Revolution
MDMA: Utopian Pharmacology
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World