From Saartjie Baartman to Dolly the Sheep: what does genetic integrity mean?


The notion of integrity evolves with each generation. When it comes to how the idea is applied to genetics, it is worth starting to consider the moral implications of future medical development now.

The arguments about genetic integrity are well known. They have to do with being discriminated against on genetic grounds, and thus of being excluded from the labour market or from insurance policies. They have to do with who should have the rights to knowledge of your personal genetic design, and how such information can be used. This covers the blood tests and tissue samples from the living and the dead that are stored in hospital archives, and what opportunities these samples represent. Can they be used in the development of medicines and, in that case, should the pharmaceutical companies alone derive financial benefit from them?