Can reproductive genetic manipulation save lives?

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy (3):381-386 (2020)
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It has recently been argued that reproductive genetic manipulation technologies like mitochondrial replacement and germline CRISPR modifications cannot be said to save anyone’s life because, counterfactually, no one would suffer more or die sooner absent the intervention. The present article argues that, on the contrary, reproductive genetic manipulations may be life-saving (and, from this, have therapeutic value) under an appropriate population health perspective. As such, popular reports of reproductive genetic manipulations potentially saving lives or preventing disease are not necessarily mistaken, though such terminology still requires further empirical validation.

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G. Owen Schaefer
National University of Singapore


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