More Than Science IV: The Challenges of Epigenetics to our Traditional Ethics

Because epigenetic marks are distinct from genetic mutations in a number of fundamental ways “the threshold issue will be whether, as a matter of ethics and law, it is appropriate to engage in ‘epigenetic exceptionalism.’” Given the unique scientific challenges raised by epigenetics, such as the possibilities for rapid adaptation and transgenerational inheritance, the configuration of the liberties and the resulting ethics recommended from epigenetics may not be compatible with conventional politics; then again, perhaps they are. What the politics of epigenetics are or may become is yet to be seen, but elaborating the different possibilities at this early stage of the emergence of epigenetics is my project.

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Epigenetics Minority Report Part I: Epigenetics, blame, precrime and politics

by Shea Robison (@EpigeneticsGuy) If you picked up the movie reference in the title to this post, you are likely (hopefully) asking yourself “Minority Report? And epigenetics? Really?”  The answer to this question is “Yes…perhaps,” but while the reference is meant in fun, this connection between epigenetics and Minority Report raises some serious points for discussion. … Continue reading Epigenetics Minority Report Part I: Epigenetics, blame, precrime and politics

Epigenetics as a Political Revolution?

by Shea Robison (@EpigeneticsGuy) An article by Angela Saini recently published in The Observer (the Sunday edition sister paper of The Guardian UK) detailed some of the exciting and/or troubling implications of epigenetics. In this article Saini provides an excellent summation of the recent and not so recent developments in epigenetics. She also does a good job of acknowledging the significant amount … Continue reading Epigenetics as a Political Revolution?

More Than Just Science III: The Challenges of Epigenetics to our Traditional Ethics

by Shea Robison (@EpigeneticsGuy) Part III: Declaration of Independence Redux Picking up where the first post in this series left off, that the autonomy of individual persons at birth is fundamental to the political philosophy expressed in the Declaration of Independence is even more evident in Jefferson’s rough draft of the Declaration of Independence, in which the … Continue reading More Than Just Science III: The Challenges of Epigenetics to our Traditional Ethics

More Than Just Science II: The Challenges of Epigenetics to our Traditional Ethics

by Shea Robison (@EpigeneticsGuy) Part II: Intermezzo By establishing the historical context for the notion of personhood at the center of the Declaration of Independence, the previous post set the stage for discussion of the unique ethical and political challenges introduced by epigenetics.  Given the importance of the Declaration of Independence as a reflection of the intellectual … Continue reading More Than Just Science II: The Challenges of Epigenetics to our Traditional Ethics