Rights and Liberties in the Biotech Age: Why We Need a Genetic Bill of Rights

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Rights and Liberties in the Biotech Age is the first book reaching broadly into biotechnology that imbeds the issues into a rights framework for the social management of technology. The contributors to the volume comprise prominent university scientists, civil rights lawyers, and public interest activists who bring their perspectives to issues where science and civil liberties meet head on. This book explores the impact of new genetic technologies on how people define their "personhood" and their basic civil liberties. It questions the thesis of "scientism" where "rights" must adapt and conform to technological changes. Instead, the authors explore the expansion of human rights in the face of new biomedical and bio-agricultural advances so that "rights" and not "technologies" are at the forefront of discussion.

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Editorial Reviews

The authors represented in this edited compilation call for a genetic Bill of Rights, in a sensible, humane, and rational manner. An interesting read! Highly recommended.
Journal Of Agriculture and Environmental Ethics
a very thought-provoking book and [I] heartily recommend it.
Nature Biotechnology
This book is a wonderful contribution to a much needed assessment of the potential dangers awaiting us if we proceed in a reckless way.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742543409
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/11/2005
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Sheldon Krimsky is professor of urban and environmental policy and planning at Tufts University and adjunct professor of family medicine and community health at the Tufts Medical School. Peter Shorett is director of programs at the Council for Responsible Genetics and writes in a variety of venues on the economics and politics of science.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Genetics, "natural rights," and the preservation of biodiversity 11
2 The right to biodiversity : a concept rooted in international law and understanding 17
3 Life patents and democratic values 29
4 New enclosures : why civil society and governments should look beyond life patents 40
5 Life patents undermine the exchange of technology and scientific ideas 49
6 Food free of genetic engineering : more than a right 57
7 A right to GE-free food : the case of maize contamination 71
8 Ensuring the public's right to safe food 79
9 Acts of self-determination and self-defense : indigenous peoples' responses to biocolonialism 87
10 Global trade and intellectual property : threats to indigenous resources 98
11 Indigenous peoples and traditional resource rights 107
12 Arguing for a right to genetic integrity 117
13 Refocusing genomics toward the human health effects of chemically induced mutations 126
14 "Omics," toxics, and the public interest 132
15 Procreative autonomy versus eugenic and economic interests of the state 141
16 A disability rights approach to eugenics 146
17 Genetic privacy in the health care system 153
18 Biotechnology's challenge to individual privacy 159
19 Beyond genetic anti-discrimination legislation 167
20 Analyzing genetic discrimination in the workplace 173
21 Disability rights and genetic discrimination 178
22 A fundamental right to post-conviction DNA testing 185
23 Forensic DNA : the criminal defendant's right to an independent expert 194
24 The perils of human developmental modification 203
25 Human rights in a post-human future 209
26 Rights for fetuses and embryos? 216
Afterword : focusing ingenuity with human rights 219
App The genetic bill of rights 223
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