Julia Mahoney
Gil Siegal

Beyond Nature? Genomic Modification and the Future of Humanity

Law & Contemporary Problems


Recent breakthroughs have moved heritable human genetic modification from the realm of science fiction to the cusp of reality, lending urgency to questions regarding how and for what purposes new technologies will be deployed. This article rejects the conventional view that modifying the human genome in ways that promise to extend to later generations poses such grave dangers that efforts to do so should be undertaken — if at all — with extreme caution. Although heritable human genetic modification entails risks, both present and future generations will likely be better served by the aggressive pursuit of further advances. This article also explains how the ease of use of novel interventions such as CRISPR to modify the human genome — what we term "genomic moonshining" — are eroding the ability of government regulators, professional organizations and others to control the creation and dissemination of knowledge.


Julia D. Mahoney & Gil Siegal, Beyond Nature? Genomic Modification and the Future of Humanity, 81 Law & Contemporary Problems 195-214 (2018).

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