Original Research

Life in our hands? Some ethical perspectives on the human genome and human genome diversity projects

Cornelius W. du Toit
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 35, No 1 | a812 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v35i1.812 | © 2014 Cornelius W. du Toit | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 November 2012 | Published: 17 March 2014

About the author(s)

Cornelius W. du Toit, Research Institute for Theology and Religion, University of South Africa, South Africa


The article dealt with implications of the human genome and the human genome diversity project. It examined some theological implications, such as: humans as the image of God, God as the creator of life, the changed role of miracles and healings in religion, the sacredness of nature, life and the genome. Ethical issues that were addressed include eugenics, germline intervention, determinism and the human genome diversity project. Economic and legal factors that play a role were also discussed. Whilst positive aspects of genome research were considered, a critical stance was adopted towards patenting the human genome and some concluding guidelines were proposed.


human genome; genetic determinism; eugenics; genome patenting; human genome diversity project (HGDP)


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