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Accepted Paper:

Genetic enhancement in a one health world  
Rebecca Walker (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) Margaret Waltz Douglas MacKay Jean Cadigan

Short abstract:

The one health movement aims to unite human, nonhuman animal, and environmental health goals. How genetic enhancement is perceived and used by scientists and governance stakeholders instead positions animals as collaborators in production of only human health.

Long abstract:

Posthumanists often embrace the idea of genetically enhancing humans. These views are outliers in governance debates over acceptable uses of gene editing. Yet, biomedical researchers and agricultural scientists regularly use gene editing to improve animal models of human disease, to enhance animal bodies as food sources, and to improve animal welfare under farmed conditions. This asymmetry between human and animal enhancement raises questions for the one health movement, which aims to unite human, nonhuman animal, and environmental health goals using multidisciplinary lenses. On its face, one health sees nonhuman animals as collaborators in a health production mission. Do these interspecies and ecological health goals undermine the human centric narrative about boundaries for genetic enhancement? Alternatively, should the embrace of genetic enhancement generalize from the other animals to humans?

We interviewed 81 scientists and governance stakeholders in the gene editing space and describe their views about human and animal genetic enhancement especially how animals are viewed as collaborators in production of human rather than interspecies health. These stakeholders posit strong distinctions between human and other animal enhancement using gene editing. In conversation are the moral status of human as compared with nonhuman animals, the norms of animal breeding practices, and problems of social justice as necessarily human.

In this presentation, we critically analyze these findings with an eye to repositioning animal collaborators in knowledge production as more than mere tools in human health production.

Traditional Open Panel P340
More-than human research and innovation
  Session 1 Wednesday 17 July, 2024, -