Genetic Enhancement of the Human Being - Between Reality and Fiction, Between Risks and Benefits


  • Bianca Hanganu Grigore T Popa University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Iasi, Romania
  • Irina Smaranda Manoilescu Grigore T Popa University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Iasi, Romania
  • Beatrice Gabriela Ioan Grigore T Popa University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Iasi, Romania



genetic human enhancement, ethics, autonomy, risk-benefit balance, equity


Since ancient times, man has been searching for ways to improve life, often striving for perfection, and the many advances in technology are the proof of this continuous search. Whether it is meant to prevent or cure diseases, to increase physical, mental and intellectual performance or to increase resistance to various external agents, the enhancement of the human being is a central point of interest in research. Nevertheless, the possibility of making these improvements does not automatically mean their ethical acceptance. One of the most socially and ethically challenging issues related to human enhancement and one of the most current research topic in this field is genetic enhancement of the human being. As such, the purpose of this paper is to identify the challenges that the reality of genetic enhancement of the human being may bring, weighing its benefits and risks. Interventions aimed at genetic enhancement can target both the somatic characters and the germline genome, the changes made to the latter being passed to the future generations. Although currently still classified as fiction, the rapid progress in technology brings closer and closer the reality of genetic human enhancement on large scale, assuming the interventions and the outcomes will be socially and ethically accepted. The authors of this article show that such interventions should respect the autonomy and dignity of the individual, they should ensure protection and justice, and their expected benefits should always outweigh the potential risks.