From Science Fiction to Ethics Quandary

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Science  19 Sep 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5333, pp. 1753-1754
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5333.1753

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At a meeting last week sponsored by the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), scientists predicted that within 2 years, a researcher will propose a gene-therapy experiment that, although initially aimed at curing disease, could eventually be used to enhance a trait in healthy people. Many of those attending the meeting urged RAC, which advises NIH director Harold Varmus, to treat such proposals with caution until ethical concerns such as fair distribution and the potential for eugenics can be addressed.