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Genetically Manipulaing Skin Color: The Ethics of the SLC24A5 Gene Variant
If scientists could modify a gene in your body to change your skin color, would you look at this as a scientific breakthrough and something personally valuable or would you think this would be a social catastrophe and would incite more social intolerance?
Osagie K. Obasogie writes an article titled "Racial Alchemy: Bioethics and the Skin Tone Gene" in the May 18, 2007 Hastings Center Bioethics Forum
. The article begins "Since the 2005 discovery that the SLC24A5 gene variant plays a sizable role in human skin pigmentation, scientists have become increasingly intrigued by the possibility of genetically manipulating skin color. Curiously, however, this research is going on with little mention of the dreaded “R” word: race."
Read the article and come back and express your views on this "breakthrough" and what it would mean to you and society in general. Do you think that skin color and race are seperable or that scientists should consider, with higher regard than what might be regarded at present, the social implication of this area of research they are now entering? ..Maurice.