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March 17, 2006
Contact: Ben Eggleston, assistant professor of philosophy, (785) 864-2332.

Harvard prof to discuss ethical implications of genetically modifying humans

LAWRENCE — A Harvard Medical School professor will discuss the ethical implications of using genetics to make future people smarter, stronger and fitter March 30 at the University of Kansas.

Dan Brock, Frances Glessner Lee Professor of Medical Ethics at Harvard, will present “The Ethics of Using Genetics to Make Better People” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 30, in the Centennial Room of the Kansas Union.

“Traditionally, medical science has aimed at making existing people better through drugs, diet and so on,” said Ben Eggleston, assistant professor of philosophy. “Brock will be talking about something different that is only now beginning to become technologically imaginable: making better people, by using genetic technology to give future people capabilities and characteristics they would not otherwise have. Given popular concerns about cloning, designer children and genetically engineered bionic athletes, it is a privilege to have Brock speaking on this topic at KU.”

Brock has written more than 150 articles on bioethics and moral and political philosophy, which have appeared in books and journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, Science, Philosophy and Public Affairs and Ethics. He has co-authored books such as Deciding For Others: The Ethics of Surrogate Decision Making and From Chance to Choice: Genetics and Justice and has published Life and Death: Philosophical Essays in Biomedical Ethics.

Brock is also director of the division of medical ethics at the Harvard Medical School and director of the Harvard Program in Ethics and Health. Before coming to Harvard, he was senior scientist and a member of the Department of Clinical Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health. Prior to that, he taught at Brown University for 33 years.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

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