Seven Deadly Sins of Genetics

Seven Deadly Sins of Genetics

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted March 10, 2008 in DNA Fun, Genetic Engineering

pope snow globeAs I mentioned earlier today, the Roman Catholic church has updated its original 1500-year-old list of seven deadly sins with another seven. Genetic engineering is now on the list and I thought I’d help out in case the Vatican wanted to add another seven pertaining specifically to genetics.

2008 list of 14 deadly sins:

  1. Pride
  2. Envy
  3. Gluttony
  4. Lust
  5. Anger
  6. Greed
  7. Sloth
  8. Carrying out experiments on humans
  9. Polluting the environment
  10. Causing social injustice
  11. Causing poverty
  12. Becoming obscenely wealthy
  13. Taking drugs
  14. Genetic modification

Additional 7 deadly sins of genetics:

  1. Aiding and abetting people who use information from their personal genomes for improving their lives
  2. Believing that genes are deterministic
  3. Equating genetic knowledge with eugenics (ahem, Annalee Newitz)
  4. Making up genetic testing results, see paternity test huckster Simon Mullane
  5. Participating in or conducting research on genetics
  6. Running a DNA testing company
  7. Writing a blog about genetics, genomics, and DNA

Beware, all you sinners!

Recycle or go to Hell, warns Vatican – Telegraph
Seven new deadly sins: are you guilty? – Times Online
Thou shalt not commit a genetic experiment –



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[...] You offend God not only by stealing, blaspheming or coveting your neighbour’s wife, but also by ruining the environment, carrying out morally debatable scientific experiments, or allowing genetic manipulations which alter DNA or compromise embryos. I guess it’s a good thing I’m a heathen?! Update: Don’t miss my additional list of 7 deadly sins of genetics. [...]

Comment by Berci Mesko

Lol! I take No. 7.

You too, Hsien… :)

Berci, You’re not allowed to choose. You’re either a sinner or not! And sorry to say, everyone’s a sinner in the Church’s eyes. :P


[...] conflict. Eye on DNA, a leading blog about genetics and health, helps out the Vatican by further extending the list with particular focus on genetic engineering. And here I am dreaming of being a geneticist one day…thanks Darth Pope [...]


[...] complete list is here. The news article here. [...]

Comment by Sam

this really stinks…a catholicism and genetics are opposing force now!

Sam, It certainly sounds like it. Some would even argue that religion and science in general are opposing forces….

Comment by David Bradley

Okay, jumping headlong on to the back of the bandwagon, although I should point out I had a seven deadly sins item on Sciencebase in February last year, here’s my Seven Deadly Sins for Scientists



[...] The complete list is here [...]

Comment by Stem Cell Geek Subscribed to comments via email

This is astonishing. Great blog – I subscribed to your feed!

Comment by Stem Cell Geek Subscribed to comments via email

I am reading that there hasn’t been an official update by the Church. There has been a confusion between journalists that extrapolated the data from an interview on the Osservatore Romano – the Vatican newspaper – to a bishop who was asked to mention his opinion on what where the new sins.

Comment by David Bradley

Ms Cell-Geek – that is a relief, I thought these had been laid down as Gospel!


Comment by Aidan McNeil

OK I’m a catholic but there such a thing as being to extreme. Genetics are deterministic and can show if one is related to another. These extra sins that you are describing are just plain ignorant. there are plenty of benefits to genetic manipulation granted it cna easily go to far, but health wise they are beneficial.


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