chapter  12
24 Pages

The Contributions and Limitations of Christian Perspectives to Understanding the Religious Implications of the Genetics Revolution

ByAudrey R. Chapman

Every month, sometimes every week, announcements appear o f new breakthroughs in understanding genetics and controlling life processes. The capacity to rearrange the very building blocks o f life has made it possible to genetically alter plants, animals, and potentially even human beings. Scientists have managed to clone and produce genetically identical copies o f several species o f animals, with the prospect o f human applications. In June 2000, the Human Genome Project, a $3 billion international effort, completed a working draft o f the human genetic code.2 After a decade of trials, scientists are beginning to have success with human genetic therapies that insert corrective genes to compensate for malfunctioning genes.3 Some scientists now anticipate developing genetic interventions that could enhance the mental and physical characteristics o f patients beyond the normal range. Other prospective therapies being discussed may be able to effect genetic modifications that will be inherited by future descendants.4