Iain Brassington
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Freedom, law, politics, genes
The case of mitochondrial transfer
in The freedom of scientific research

This chapter examines the relationship between mitochondrial transfer technologies and scientific freedom. Transfer of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) promises to eliminate mitochondrial disease from affected embryos. This procedure promises to improve future lives significantly; but if it turns out to have undesirable consequences, it could cause several generations of harm. This raises questions about the freedom to pursue potentially harmful techniques. How should we weigh the risks? Moreover, faced with the claim that altering the human genome is eugenic, is the freedom to pursue eugenic technologies a freedom worth defending? We must acknowledge the risks of mtDNA transfer; but they should be kept in perspective. The freedom to attempt to free future generations from inherited illness is worth protecting.

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The freedom of scientific research

Bridging the gap between science and society


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