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Understanding genetic justice in the post-enhanced world: a reply to Sinead Prince
  1. Jon Rueda1,2
  1. 1Department of Philosophy 1, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
  2. 2Institute for Practical Ethics, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Jon Rueda, Department of Philosophy 1, University of Granada, Granada, Granada, Spain; ruetxe{at}


In her recent article, Prince has identified a critical challenge for those who advocate genetic enhancement to reduce social injustices. The gene–environment interaction prevents genetic enhancement from having equitable effects at the phenotypic level, even if enhancement were available to the entire population. The poor would benefit less than the rich from their improved genes because their genotypes would interact with more unfavourable socioeconomic environments. Therefore, Prince believes that genetic enhancement should not be used to combat social inequalities, since it can likely aggravate them. In this article, I raise various objections to this conclusion. I argue first that genetic enhancement need not necessarily magnify social injustices. I then show that genetic enhancement can play a modest but not insignificant role in the quest for social justice in the future. Finally, I conclude by arguing for the need to consider the complex interplay between the social lottery and the natural lottery in our aspirations for justice linked to genetic technologies.

  • Enhancement
  • Ethics
  • Genetic Enhancement
  • Philosophy

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  • Contributors JR is the sole author of this article.

  • Funding This research is funded by a US-Spain Fulbright grant, an INPhINIT Retaining Fellowship of the La Caixa Foundation (Grant number LCF/BQ/DR20/11790005), Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (421523/2022-0), and Sabadell Foundation.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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