Title page for ETD etd-08222003-160342

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Crain, Stacie M
URN etd-08222003-160342
Title Designer Genes: An analysis of a theoretical framework for policy proposals in relation to genetic engineering as a reproductive technology
Degree Master of Arts
Department Political Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Luke, Timothy W. Committee Chair
FitzPatrick, William J. Committee Member
Rich, Richard C. Committee Member
  • public policy
  • cloning
  • genetic engineering
  • embryo research
  • biomedical technology
  • reproductive technology
Date of Defense 2003-05-16
Availability restricted
With the new capabilities of genetic engineering and such biotechnologies, come added considerations for policy makers. If gene therapy (or even embryo selection) becomes common practice, we must look not only to creating policies that protect the interests of individuals in the legal and social realms, but consideration must also be given to the equality of opportunity in the genetic sense. This additional level brings with it much significance; one can argue that financial disparity is at least theoretically surmountable but it is difficult to account for intentional genetic alterations that would forever give certain individuals a physical advantage over non-enhanced persons.

It is with these new boundaries that genetic policy must find itself creating legislation; it is also with these new boundaries that policy will find its greatest hurdles. Given the ever-expanding field of biotechnology and gene therapy, one can hardly expect policy written today to be up-to-date ten, or even two years from now. Instead of focusing, therefore, on specific recommendations, I will center my discussion on a broad framework that outlines the arguments that should be considered when dealing with genetic engineering and public policy.

After creating a theoretical structure centered on historical experiences and the philosophical writings of John Rawls, we will delve deeper into the actual possibilities created by genetic engineering and embryo selection. I will further analyze the differences between positive and negative genetic interventions and discuss the consequences of these differences as they should (or should not) affect policy. This particular distinction and the implications of these differences on policy will serve as the bulk of my discussion.

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