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Genomics Forum · Events

Dark History, Bright Future? The Ethical Conundrum of Eugenics and Genomics

Public event   26.04.2007






Professor Alexander Capron, University of Southern CaliforniaRespondent: Professor Hilary Rose, City University, London


The Auditorium, Symposium Hall, Royal College of Surgeons, Hill Square, Edinburgh

Event details

Download - Dark History, Bright Future? The Ethical Conundrum of Eugenics and Genomics


The term eugenics - the control of human reproduction for genetic improvement purposes - is now most closely associated with second world war Nazi practices which included enforced racial hygiene, human experimentation and eventually genocide of undesired population groups.

Developments in genetic, genomic, and reproductive technologies at the end of the 20th century, however, have raised many new ethical questions and concerns about what exactly constitutes the meaning of eugenics and what its ethical and moral status is.

In 'Dark History, Bright Future? The Ethical Conundrum of Eugenics and Genomics' Professor Capron will explore the rise of the new eugenics. He will also detail concerns that a lack of awareness by scientists and policy makers about using genetic determinism and crude eugenics will prevent their work from achieving the beneficial outcomes they expect.

Biographical information:

Alexander Capron holds the Scott H. Bice Chair in Healthcare Law, Policy and Ethics and the Chair of Law and Medicine at the University of Southern California, and is co-director of the Pacific Center for Health Policy and Ethics, a campus-wide interdisciplinary research and education center. From 2002 to 2006 he served as director of Ethics, Trade, Human Rights and HealthLaw at the World Health Organization in Geneva. He was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, where he served for five years; is a trustee of The Century Foundation and president of the International Association of Bioethics; and is a member of the Institute of Medicine.

Professor Capron’s publications include Law, Science and Medicine 2nd ed. (with others, Foundation Press, 1996), Treatise on Health Care Law (with others, Matthew Bender, 1991), and Genetics, Ethics and Human Values (edited with Z. Bankowski, Geneva: CIOMS, 1991).

Further details