The ethics of human genetic intervention: A postmodern perspective
Gene therapy for a particular disease like Parkinson's involves ethical principles worked out for other diseases. The major ethical issues for gene therapy (and the corresponding ethical principles) are safety (nonmalfeasance), efficacy (beneficence), informed consent (autonomy), and allocation of resources (justice). Yet genetic engineering (germ-line interventions or interventions to enhance human potentialities) raises emotions and fears that might cause resistance to gene therapies. Looking at these technologies in a postmodern perspective helps one to appreciate the issues at stake in social and cultural change with a new technology such as gene therapy. While 'modern' technology and ethics have focused on the autonomy of the individual, we are beginning to see a lessening of such emphasis on individualism and autonomy and more emphasis on the health of the population. Such a social change could cause technologies about which society may currently be cautious (such as human genetic interventions) to become more acceptable or even expected.
Dyer, A. (1997). The ethics of human genetic intervention: A postmodern perspective. Experimental Neurology, 144 (1). http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/exnr.1996.6404