Volume 17, Issue 2 p1-19 (1984)
The biotechnical "revolution" has fast come upon us. It promises to produce both substantial benefits and difficult dilemmas for individuals and society. Despite the growing attention being paid to biotechnology, a major unanswered question is who shall control the development and use of the powerful array of human genetic and reproductive innovations. Should the decisions be left to individual consumers and private industry or should they be made by the government or other social institutions? After briefly reviewing development in human genetics and reproduction and describing trends toward commercialization of them, this article discusses the dilemmas these trends raise for a democratic society. It argues for the urgent need to delineate societal goals and priorities for the future and for technology assessment as early as possible in the developmental process. The article concludes by presenting some examples of the social policy problems now emerging.
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