Henry T. Greely

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  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Law Professor & Ethicist









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Director, Center for Law and the Biosciences; Professor (by courtesy) of Genetics, Stanford School of Medicine; Chair, Steering Committee of the Center for Biomedical Ethics; and Director, Stanford Program in Neuroscience and Society. Henry T. Greely (BA '74) specializes in the ethical, legal, and social implications of new biomedical technologies, particularly those related to neuroscience, genetics, or stem cell research. He frequently serves as an advisor on California, national, and international policy issues. He is chair of California's Human Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee, a member of the Advisory Council of the NIH's National Institute for General Medical Sciences, a member of the Committee on Science, Technology, and Law of the National Academies, a member of the Neuroscience Forum of the Institute of Medicine, and served from 2007-2010 as co-director of the Law and Neuroscience Project, funded by the MacArthur Foundation. Professor Greely chairs the steering committee for the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics and directs both the law school's Center for Law and the Biosciences and the Stanford Program in Neuroscience and Society. In 2007 Professor Greely was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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If we we were to intentionally set out to cause the extinction of a species, we should think about that. I would want there to be some consideration and reflection of a social consensus before we take that step. Health, Healthcare & Medicine ;Environment & Environmentalism
People who are infertile will be able to have their own genetic children. So may same sex couples, since it may well be possible to make eggs from a man's skin cells or sperm from a woman's.
The ability to make gametes from skin cells might have some undesirable consequences. For example, someone could take a paper coffee cup that you casually tossed in the trash and turn you into a parent without your knowledge or consent. We probably need some laws to deal with that; unconsenting parenthood seems like a bad idea. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
We can remake the biosphere to be what we want, from woolly mammoths to nonbiting mosquitos. Do we want to live in nature or in Disneyland? Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
What happens if parents pick an embryo thinking they're getting a boy who will grow up to be like former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, but instead when the child grows up, he wants to be poet?
Fairness is a central issue, Greely said. What if some people have access to the technology and others don't? There will certainly be international disparities, and possibly national ones as well.
It will save the health care system a lot of money. You don't need to prevent the births of very many really sick babies to pay for hundreds or thousands of attempts at making babies through easy PGD.