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Modifying Our Genes

Theology, Science and "Playing God"

Modifying Our Genes

Theology, Science and "Playing God"

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Paperback / softback


Publisher: SCM Press
ISBN: 9780334059530
Number of Pages: 256
Published: 31/03/2021
Width: 13.5 cm
Height: 21.6 cm

If our bodies could do more things, would our lives be better? Genome editing is a rapidly developing technology that can modify human genes. It can cure heritable diseases, but we could even make certain genetic "improvements" to healthy people. Should we change human embryos genetically to achieve such goals?

Bringing together a leading molecular biologist and a Christian ethicist,  Modifying Our Genes responds to the need for solid information and helpful orientation for a pressing moral issue. They explain relevant technical issues without the jargon, clarify the most important philosophical and religious arguments and bring empirical insights to the question of what helps us lead meaningful lives.

Read Blog post - How do we respond to genome editing? Alexander Massmann and Keith Fox consider the issues, and misconceptions surrounding genome editing.

Read ABC Religion & Ethics - Genome modification in humans: what measures promote a fulfilling life?

Acknowledgements vii

1. Introduction 1

2. How does genome editing work? 21

3. Medical opportunities: Therapeutic genome editing 39

4. Cornucopia or Pandora’s box? Genetic enhancements 67

5. Eugenics 97

6. Being human in an age of biotechnology 120

Further reading 145

Index of names and subjects 147

Alexander Massmann, Keith R. Fox

Alexander Massmann is a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge. He received his Ph.D. for a study on 20th century theology and ethics. Having published in the subject area of this book proposal, he works in theological ethics, science and theology, and Christian doctrine. Apart from recent articles in biomedical ethics and the science and theology dialogue, he is also the author of Citizenship in Heaven and on Earth: Karl Barth's Ethics (Fortress, 2015) and editor of Deathless Hopes: Reinventions of Afterlife and Eschatological Beliefs (LIT, 2018, together with C. Hays). Keith R. Fox is Professor of biochemistry, editor of Nucleic Acids Research and has published over 200 peer-reviewed science research papers. He is also the Associate Director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, Cambridge (UK), which is well-known for a strong public outreach programme. A former chairman of Christians in Science, Fox regularly addresses lay audiences on science and faith.

‘This book gives us a clear account of genetic modification techniques with a special focus on genome editing; this is followed by an informative survey of potential and actual applications in human medicine. The authors make us aware of the wide-ranging social, ethical, philosophical and theological issues that arise in considering these applications and in the more general use and interpretation of knowledge of human genetics. A useful addition to the literature.’-- John Bryant, Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences, University of Exeter, UK