This paper has been published for a special issue titled “From Genome Editing to New Reproductive Technologies: Ethical and Social Issues” of the journal Ethics & Politics, XX, 2018, 3, pp 35-52. ISSN: 1825-5167 guest-edited by Dr Maurizio Balistreri.
This paper discusses the possible biofuture imagined by George Church, in which we are able to grow humanized organs in pigs and edit them with CRISPR genome editing technologies so that they are free of porcine endogenous retroviruses that pose a risk for human transplant, and juxtaposes it with the biofuture imagined by Margaret Atwood in her 2003 novel Oryx and Crake. I adopt Ari Shick’s critique of speculative bioethics to show how an over-emphasis on the urgency of the experiments may overshadow other non-medical solutions to the problem of shortage of organs for transplantation. In the end, I draw some reflections on the role that science fiction and speculative fiction play in the construction of biofutures for bioethics.
The full paper can be accessed here.
It was great to be back at the Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine at UCSF for a few days last week. During my visit I gave a talk as part of the Culpeper Seminar Series on ethics of CRISPR genome editing technologies. I was also interviewed by Professor Brian Dolan, Director of UC Medical Humanities Press and Professor of Social Medicine at UCSF, about my book “From Bench to Bedside, to Track and Field: The Context of Enhancement and its Ethical Relevance” published for UC Medical Humanities Press.
In the podcast (available here) I discuss genome editing technologies to alter the human embryo and to select children’s traits, genetic technologies to enhance athletic performance, and doping in professional sport.
The podcast is available here:
I look forward to participating in the Imagine! Festival of Ideas in Belfast on March 19th.
I will be discussing the socio-ethical implications of CRISPR genome editing. FOr more information and to register (free event!) click here: