Who Are We Now? Genetics, Genomics, and the Question of the Human
“We used to think our fate was in the stars,” quipped James Watson in a Time magazine piece announcing the Human Genome Project (HGP). “Now we know, in large measure, our fate is in our genes.” Scientific insights and technological developments have been propelled by humans’ insatiable curiosity about ourselves and our world, and the HGP—with the goal of mapping the human genome—grew out of that curiosity. A complete sequence of human DNA would ideally contribute information leading to significant advances in medical research and treatment as well as new insight into human history, both collective and individual. But that information, as many critics warned, was not risk-free. The risks and possibilities captured the public imagination, as scholars, journalists, and artists all grappled with what discoveries might emerge from the research and how they might challenge what it means to be human.
Scientific research and technological innovation take place within social and geopolitical contexts, and such contexts are never free of biases, values, and assumptions, both explicit and…
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About ELSIhub Collections
ELSIhub Collections are essential reading lists on fundamental or emerging topics in ELSI, curated and explained by expert Collection Editors, often paired with ELSI trainees. This series assembles materials from cross-disciplinary literatures to enable quick access to key information.