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Eugenics, Human Genetics and Public Policy Debates

Topic Selection: Rationale and Terminology

Although genetics is a comparatively recent branch of sciences, it has already warranted the title of one of the most controversial areas of study. Because of the opportunities at altering the genetic makeup of certain species, possibly including humans, it is often branded as an attempt at tampering with nature and, ultimately, implying that certain races and ethnicities are superior (Ormond et al., 2017).

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Essential terms:

  • Genetics: a branch of biology exploring genes
  • Eugenics: a practice involving the use of selection and the relevant tools for improving the qualities of human species.

Introduction: Eugenics and Human Genetics in the 21st Century

Ethical concerns about genetics, in general, and human genetics, in particular, have been in existence for a while. The specified phenomenon can partially be explained by a rather one-sided representation of the issue in media. The interpretation of genetics as a means of modifying genes is persistent in modern society, thus, contributing to the social concern (Thomsen & Gloy, 2017). Furthermore, the lack of clarity concerning where the relevant ethical boundaries are creates numerous opportunities for overstepping them (Biller-Andorno & Capron, 2016). Consequently, public debates regarding the threat of human genetics are still heated (Ormond et al., 2017).

Public Policy Debates: Description

Ethical issues associated with human genetics and eugenics have been recently brought to public attention, resulting in the creation of peculiar public policy. On the one hand, the significance of using genetics as a means of addressing a range of health issues is acknowledged (Thomsen & Gloy, 2017). On the other hand, the threat of using genetics as the means of labeling certain races and ethnicities as either superior or inferior is voiced (Biller-Andorno & Capron, 2016). Because of the lack of agreement on the subject matter, there is a necessity to prove that stereotypes will not define or guide genetic studies.

Arguments: What Participants of the Debate Have to Say

The statements made by the people that are against human genetics are understandable. According to the specified arguments, imply that human research will lead to determining the genes that are deemed as better and more desirable (Biller-Andorno & Capron, 2016). Therefore, the foundation for the aggravation of racial or ethnic discrimination may be built (Ormond et al., 2017). The specified concern needs to be addressed accordingly (Thomsen & Gloy, 2017).

Arguments: The Ethics of Eugenics and Human Genetics

The claims of the people that support genetic research are nonetheless sensible. By exploring the human gene, one will be able to identify the means of curing a range of diseases that are currently considered incurable, e.g., diabetes (Thomsen & Gloy, 2017). The idea of improving the quality of people’s lives, as well as preventing the development of diseases and disorders, seems rather alluring. Therefore, a significant number of people view human genetics as an opportunity (Biller-Andorno & Capron, 2016).

Arguments: Threats and Opportunities of Human Genetics

The idea of eugenics is rather controversial (Thomsen & Gloy, 2017). The very concept implies that certain characteristics should be regarded as superior. The fact that eugenics was used to promote ideas of racism and intolerance earlier in human history does not make the idea of human genetics and eugenics look attractive, either (Ormond et al., 2017). However, by locating the middle ground and focusing on public health enhancement rather than on promoting stereotypes, one will be able to make human genetics helpful (Biller-Andorno & Capron, 2016).

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Opinion and Conclusion: Human Genetics and Ethical Dilemmas

The issue of eugenics and human genetics remains convoluted and controversial. Some assume that it will help address health issues. Others believe that it will lead to stereotyping and discrimination. Therefore, further analysis of the problem is required.

Statement of Opinion: Health Opportunities as the Primary Focus

It seems that eugenics and health genetics cannot be considered as either positive or negative. Instead, it should be regarded as a tool for achieving a particular goal. When setting successful management of public health concerns as the primary objective, one will be able to avoid racial and ethnic controversies.


Biller-Andorno, N., & Capron, A. M. (2016). Ethical issues in governing biobanks: Global perspectives. New York, NY: Routledge.

Ormond, K. E., Mortlock, D. P., Scholes, D. T., Bombard, Y., Brody, L. C., Faucett, W. A.,… Musunuru, K. (2017). Human germline genome editing. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 101(2), 167-176. Web.

Thomsen, S. K., & Gloy, A. L. (2017). Human genetics as a model for target validation: Finding new therapies for diabetes. Diabetologia, 60(6), 960–970. Web.

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