For centuries, birth and death, the two great constants of human existence, were matters for God alone. Now science has intervened, with IVF treatment widely available to infertile couples, and the possibility of human cloning edging over the horizon. Medical ethics continues to lag behind technology, giving rise to fears that a monster is being unleashed, leading us into the horrors envisaged in Huxleys Brave New World as we prepare to enter the third millennium.
In this masterly analysis of current trends, John Scally examines the history of genetic science, from Darwin through the eugenics theories of the first half of the twentieth century to the cloning of Dolly the sheep in 1997. Looking at relatively recent developments like organ transplantation and DNA testing, which would have seemed impossible to our forebears, he argues for the establishment and implementation of a comprehensive code of ethics in the area of genetic science in order to safeguard the integrity and infinite variety of the human race. He readily accepts, however, that not all genetic experimentation is bad, and, indeed, believes that many aspects of genetic engineering, particularly in the area of food production, can only be of benefit to humankind.
John Scally is a teacher and lecturer and works as a freelance radio producer for RTE. He has written eight successful sports books and three books on ethical issues for Veritas.