Do we own our bodies? Do isolated gene sequences constitute "inventions" that warrant patent protection? What about cloned organisms, or new life-forms engineered from preexisting tissue? Do scientists have the right to claim individual patents on and make profits from the elements of life? How does the profit motive affect our attitudes toward the value of life? Will patent protection foster or hinder scientific cooperation and research into diseases? In short, who owns life? Arthur Caplan is the director of the Center for Bioethics, chief of the Division of Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, and the author or editor of numerous books, including THE ETHICS OF ORGAN TRANSPLANTS, with Daniel Coelho.
Roses that won't wilt for years. It's going to be possible with the latest in genetic plant engineering. But, "ultimately, what about us?" bioethicist Art Caplan posed on Monday night's show. What if we can make humans that won't wilt? Caplan said that one of the biggest issues we face in the future may not be about cloning ourselves but making ourselves better through genetics. We may be able to make our bodies stronger, faster and smarter but "it puts us smack in the middle of eugenics," Caplan said, framing a debate that may not be that far away. He also believes that another hot issue will be brought about by the increased ability to see inside the brain, which may be used in ways that could invade people's privacy. While Caplan has some doubts about the current Raelian claims on cloning he does believe the procedure will eventually happen. He put an interesting twist on the debate by taking the viewpoint of the clone. "Is it psychologically (un)healthy for the clone because t ... More »Host: George Noory