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Mark Frankel asked if we’d share some general perspectives on what we believe to be the major challenges posed as we consider technologies of “enhancement.”  I’d like to share the perspective of the Center for Genetics and Society, as well as what we’ve learned about the perspectives of a wide range of Americans and others.

CGS got started following a series of meetings held in 2000 on the social and political implications of the new human genetic technologies. The meetings brought together people concerned about social and economic justice, women’s health and reproductive rights, science and society, environmental protection, and the rights of the disabled.

Those participating  became concerned when they learned how rapidly these new technologies were being developed,  how profoundly consequential these could be, how thin were the few rules and regulations in place, and how well below the radar screens of both the general public and policy makers all this was.

A major concern was that use of these technologies could greatly exacerbate human inequality, in particular through a revival of eugenic technologies and ideologies, this time...