Mar 04 2004 Posted: 00:00 GMT
The Centre of Bioethical Research and Analysis (COBRA), Department of Philosophy, NUI Galway, in association with the Irish Council of Bioethics, will hold a Symposium on Genetics and Disability in the Siobhán McKenna Theatre, NUI Galway from the 10th-12th, March 2004.

Internationally acclaimed experts in the fields of genetics and disability who will be speaking at the symposium include John Harris, Julian Savulescu, Janet Radcliffe-Richards, Tom Shakespeare and Jonathan Wolff. Each will give a public lecture. Lectures open to the public will be held at lunchtimes and early evenings throughout the symposium. It is hoped that there will be wide interest in the lectures, which will tackle important ethical questions to do with advances in genetic technologies and their relation to disability issues.

"This is simply a world class event", commented COBRA s Director, Dr Richard Hull. "Many important ethical questions are raised given that advances in genetic technologies might affect how we respond to or treat impairment, both medically and as a society. They might even affect how we define disability to start with. We are delighted to have such an excellent line-up of speakers tackling this critical area of bioethical debate."

Issues which will be addressed at the Conference include the following:

  • How should society treat people with disabilities?
  • How and to what effect should genetic technologies be employed in the future?
  • Is there a moral obligation to eradicate disability where we can?
  • Is it wrong to deliberately create a child with a disability where we could instead have created a different child without a disability?
  • How should research on those with disabilities be properly conducted, if at all?
  • Is it possible or desirable to define an acceptable range of human capability when considering the potential uses (or abuses) of genetic technology?