Is it Ethical to Copyright Genes, Embryos, or Their Parts?

318 words | 2 page(s)

1—Absolutely Not
Genes, embryos, and their parts are all basically forms of life, either human or animal. For a person to attempt to control the creation or destruction of these forms of life through the use of copyrights is reprehensible. It is already illegal for human organs to be bought or sold, because to do so would be to place a value on human life. In order to copyright genes, embryos, or their parts, the same thing would have to happen.

Value would need to be placed on life, whether human or nonhuman. To do so would inevitably lead to some lives being seen as more or less valuable than others. From there it is only a small step towards a world where only human beings who are seen as being “valuable” will be eligible for such things as quality health care or entrance to top colleges and universities.

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Another point to consider is that if a person or corporation were able to copyright forms of life, they would be in a unique position to control the future of genetics. While it might at some point be possible to use this control to eradicate deadly diseases, it might also be possible to alter the entire human race in some way. For instance, if a single person were able to copyright the gene which leads to blue eyes in infants, only the infants he chose would ever be born with blue eyes.

If blue-eyed children were then considered to be rare and desirable, these children would almost certainly be offered advantages in life that common brown-eyed children would not be entitled to. The United States is a country where people are rewarded for doing their best and working hard, not for the genes that they happen to inherit from their parents. And certainly not for being given genes considered to be favorable by a random person who copyrighted them.

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