There is another significant story out there that is developing as we speak, folks, and once again, it concerns transhumanism, and in this case, the very essence of what it is to be human, both biologically, and as we shall see in a moment, in law. This story I found while surfing, and it must have been one of those synchronicities or "in the aether", because so many of you sent me not only this exact article but variations of it, I lost count. Here's the story as reported by Stuart A. Newman at The Huffington Post:
This is a detail-rich, well-written, and informative article. For me, however, the central paragraph which concerns us is this:
"It is clear, however, that much more than mitochondria is being transferred or donated in MST. This is obscured in most reports on the subject, even in scientific journals. A recent report in the journal Nature states, "The technique [combines] genetic material from a mitochondria donor, the mother who provides the nucleus and a father." To use the emotive term "mother" only for the donor of the maternal set of chromosomes downplays the unique biological role of the egg and of the woman who contributes it. It has the further effect of endorsing the false assertion of MST's advocates that the procedure comes down to the transfer of a few (i.e., the mitochondrial) genes. What is actually being transferred are 20,000 or so genes provided by the chromosome donor.'
We have here a clear case of offspring that would not have arisen naturally, but can only do so by the intervention - quoting the crucial phrase of American patent law - of "the hand of man." This intervention has, in all cases of genetic techniques - including those used to justify the patenting of GMOs - been used to argue the "patentability" of not only of the technique, but of the product of that technique. Hence, the technique, as I argued in Genes, Giants, Monsters and Men - as as we again argued in Transhumanism" A Grimoire of Alchemical Agendas, now brings directly to the forefront of the jurisprudential debates surrounding emerging technologies, the definition of human personhood and individual rights, and brings it home with some urgency.
We cannot afford to leave it to the vagaries of later decisions to emerge "down the line" as the growth and application of such technologies increases, for inevitably, there will be a segment of humanity arguing that such persons so created are "less than human," and equally, there will be individuals either with access to such technologies or who are the result of the application of the transumanists' GRIN (genetics robotics informational and nanotechnologies) who will inevitably be tempted to argue the opposite, that they are either "super-human" or that the rest of "non-engineered" humanity is sub-human. We cannot, of course, legislate out of existence these inevitable human responses. But we can ensure, in law, that such individuals and their progeny are recognized as persons, and not patentable property.
See you on the flip side.