Biotechnologies Nibbling at the Legal “Human”

December 20, 2019

(Science) – Although cognizant of the important bioethical and philosophical debates surrounding the issues raised, we focus on how legal systems may respond to these bioscience challenges to traditional binary, legal classifications. Determining whether some “thing” is now some “one” carries with it profound implications for the rights and obligations the law recognizes for “humans.” Although it may be tempting to think that these new developments require us to reconsider the time-honored legal definitions of humans, living humans, or human tissue, we suggest that current legal dualisms can be applied in ways that provide adequate flexibility to allow weighing the many issues that surround developments in genetics, neurosciences, and cellular bioengineering and challenge how we legally define what is “human.”