Progress and prospects: gene therapy for performance and appearance enhancement.
While medical therapies aim at reversing, reducing or eliminating diseases, the goal of enhancements is to improve performance or appearance beyond normal levels. Distinction between the two interventions is not always clear as they often present as a continuum. Gene therapy typically aims at treating or preventing disease, but the technology can theoretically be employed for enhancement. Some of the gene therapy enhancement strategies include improving performance by increasing muscle mass, endurance, memory, and cognition and bettering appearance by controlling weight, height and hair growth. In addition to the technical challenges of making enhancement strategies safe and effective, genetic enhancement presents significant ethical/societal questions that must be addressed.