Working Paper: Ethical Issues Arising from Trans-Species Gene Transfer
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The general public has a variety of ethical concerns about trans-species gene transfer, including: - threats to the integrity of organisms; - threats to the intrinsic value of the natural world; - threats to cultural and social identity; and - threats to specific communities. 剔he general public's definition of species may be related to but not the same as the scientific definition. Science and ethics are connected, and distinctions between organisms based on cultural, social and religious convictions are as valid as scientific distinctions. Both views can contribute valid criteria to determine what is ethically acceptable in trans-species gene transfer. The general public's concerns about trans-species gene transfer may not always align with the taxonomic levels of separation between species; however, it is important to consider these different ways of understanding organisms when engaging in debate about the ethics of trans-species gene transfer. Many of the issues associated with trans-species gene transfer are not solely scientific and technical, but also ethical, medical, legal, social and cultural. If the scientific argument dominates the public debate, the input of those who are not scientific experts may be seen as subjective and personal. A coordinated approach is required so that the various arguments can be considered on their respective merits. Proponents of the different ethical arguments about gene transfer often fail to understand the value of alternative arguments. This problem must be overcome before the ethical issues can be effectively debated.