The effective completion of the human genome sequence by the
Celera will ignite extensive media speculation over its potential
applications. There is little question that knowledge gained
Human Genome Project can be applied in ways that may contribute
well-being. But there is also little question that other applications,
such as human germline modification, could have dire social
and lead to a horrific future.
The challenge before us is to communicate the risks as well
benefits of particular applications of human genetic technologies;
demonstrate that clear and enforceable lines can be drawn between
should and should not be allowed; and to insist that such decisions
made not by small numbers of scientists or policy makers, but
Getting this message out is important because, as readers of
letter are aware, a concerted effort is underway to make the
the genetic engineering of human beings is an inevitability.
In the days following the announcement of the genome sequencing
all have opportunities to convey an important message--when
to the media; also to colleagues and wider networks. The message
we need to decide which applications of genetic knowledge to
which to prohibit, and that modifying the genes we pass to our
is a clear example of an application that needs to be prohibited.
A network of scientists, health workers, activists, scholars,
and others have begun holding meetings to discuss what needs
to be done
to get such a message across to key constituencies and the public.
you think you might want to play a role in this, contact