A Nobel laureate writer and a health law expert spoke at the
World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) in September about the
potential of human genetic engineering to create a "future
At a panel convened by UNESCO, South African writer and Nobel
laureate Nadine Gordimer asked whether genetic engineering was
"the new face of racism." She speculated about a future
in which the "haves," who could afford access to genetic
engineering, might live longer and healthier lives, while the
"have nots"—"principally dark-skinned people"—would
not be able to afford such access.
Boston University Health Law Professor George Annas said that
human genetic engineering has the potential to divide humanity
into "super- humans" and slaves, and that this "gene-ism"
could "eclipse racism as the most destructive force on
the planet." Annas asked the WCAR to consider a treaty
to ban "all species-altering techniques," and spoke
of the need to protect "genetic privacy."
UNESCO's Jerome Binde said WCAR needed to address genetic engineering
to prevent the creation of "a two-track humanity"
of super-humans and "sub-humans" who were either excluded
or genetically manipulated so that they could be controlled
by the "super-humans."
Online Health Service, <www.health-e.org.za/view.php3?id=20010901>.