Human Rights

Human rights law and discourse help to ensure respect for individual worth and the common good in the face of powerful biotechnologies. Claims to universal human rights depend, in part, on formal recognition of our common humanity. Many countries and international declarations use human rights as a broad framework for establishing policies regarding human biotechnologies. Examples include the Council of Europe's Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine and UNESCO's Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights, both of which reject biotechnology applications that would alter the genomes of future generations.


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Scientists, scholars, and social justice advocates have debated for decades about the prospect of modifying the traits we pass on to future generations. The controversy emerged well before the relevant science or technology was clearly in view, but took on new urgency in early 2015. In April of that year, researchers reported an experiment with nonviable human embryos using a new-generation genome editing tool known as CRISPR-Cas9.

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Will social inequality soon be programmed into our DNA?

The chasm between rich and poor in the world has become so extreme it is frequently difficult to grasp. The eight richest men in the world now own as much as...

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China appears to be laying the groundwork for the mass collection of DNA samples from residents of a restive, largely...

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TUSKEGEE, Ala. — Decades later, it’s still hard to grasp what the federal government did to hundreds of black men...