Ethics and genetics. A quick view

Josep Santaló


Biotechnology, in its wider sense (technologies based on biology), is one of the most striking technologies derived from knowledge appearing in the middle XX and early XXI century. In its development Biotechnology has offered the possibility of improving our knowledge on the most intimate characteristics of a living being i.e. its genetic code and even, once having this knowledge, going a step forward and alter it. The discipline that has prompted these transformations is genetics and all the technologies based on it. As mentioned, the capacity to promote the development of these technologies is exerted first through the simple knowledge (genetic information) and second through changing the genetic characteristics of individuals (genetic manipulation). Depending on the species involved in the biotechnological process we refer to this manipulation as genetic engineering (species other than humans) or as gene therapy (human species).

All these technologies have ethical questions to be addressed, questions that have deeply changed the concept of the place humankind occupies in the universe and even the concept of humanity itself.

Palabras clave

ethics; genetics

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