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Dunedin teen published in renowned medical journal

A Dunedin 16-year-old has become the first high school student ever to have a research paper published in the internationally acclaimed Journal of Medical Ethics.

It's a feat many medical experts would be envious of, as Issie Robertson questioned in her paper the ethical arguments for altering people's genes to make them live longer.

"Whether or not it's a good idea and we're actually going to make these people happier by doing this or if we're just going to increase this period of loneliness and unhappiness that people have in their lives," Roberton said.

Her interest in the topic of gene modification stemmed from a Skype conversation with Australian bioethicist Julian Savulescu, who also ended up editing the paper.

"As a society, yes we have this technology, but we need to think: We have it, but do we want to use it?" Robertson said.

Journal of Medical Ethics editor Professor Kenneth Boyd said publishing the Robertson's paper was a straightforward decision.

"We're very positive about this particular paper, and we were too as the editors, it was well deserving of publishing. I think it's probably the first time we've published one from a high-school student," Boyd said.

Issie's focus for now is high school, but further down the track she's eyeing a career in medicine.

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