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Animal Genetic Manipulation – A Utilitarian Response

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I examine the process and outcomes of animal genetic manipulation (‘transgenesis’) with reference to its morally salient features. I consider several objections to transgenesis. I examine and reject the alleged intrinsic wrongness of ‘deliberate genetic sequence alteration’, as I do the notion that transgenesis may lead to human genetic manipulation. I examine the alleged wrongness of killing inherent in transgenesis, and suggest that the concept of ‘replaceability’ successfully justifies such killing, although not for entities deemed to possess ‘personhood’. I examine ‘significant suffering’ associated with transgenesis and propose the radical conclusion that, although it would be wrong to prohibit animal genetic manipulation per se, utilitarians ought to support a ‘default prohibition’ on transgenic experiments that entail significant suffering.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA

Publication date: 2002-02-01

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