March 25, 2005

The Bill of Genetic Rights

Sujatha Byravan (see my previous post) is Executive Director at the Council for Responsible Genetics. This institution advocates a Bill of Genetic Rights. I wish to comment on some of these "rights."

Right #3. "All people have the right to a food supply that has not been genetically engineered."

I would add that all people have the right to foods that have been genetically engineered. Then, the right would come down simply to "all people have the right to eat whatever they want (and can afford to buy)." This also has the advantage of not having to define what counts as "genetically engineered."

Right #4. "All indigenous peoples have the right to manage their own biological resources, to preserve their traditional knowledge, and to protect these from expropriation and biopiracy by scientific, corporate or government interests."

I would apply this right to everyone, not just indigenous peoples. This further saves us from having to define "indigenous peoples." "Manage" must include buying and selling.

Right #10. All people have the right to have been conceived, gestated, and born without genetic manipulation.

What about the right to manipulate oneself, and the right of parents to manipulate their children and unborn ones; for example, to repair a genetic metabolic disease?

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