“Rapid progress in genetics is making “designer babies” more likely and society needs to be prepared, leading scientists have told the BBC.
Dr. Tony Perry, a pioneer in cloning, has announced precise DNA editing at the moment of conception in mice.
He said huge advances in the past two years meant “designer babies” were no longer HG Wells territory.
Other leading scientists and bioethicists argue it is time for a serious public debate on the issue.
Designer babies – genetically modified for beauty, intelligence or to be free of disease – have long been a topic of science fiction.
“This is not HG Wells, you can imagine people doing this soon.” Dr .Tony Perry, University of Bath
Dr. Perry, who was part of the teams to clone the first mice and pigs, said the prospect was still fiction, but science was rapidly catching up to make elements of it possible.”
CONVERGENCE Website Note: The linked article is from the “Journal of Medical Ethics” – the following paragraph is the Abstract from the article. Note that “human enhancement” is mentioned, along with the term “in vitro eugenics.” This article… is written by Dr. Robert Sparrow, of Australia. He says much more in the article; check it out.
“A series of recent scientific results suggest that, in the not-too-distant future, it will be possible to create viable human gametes from human stem cells. This paper discusses the potential of this technology to make possible what I call ‘in vitro eugenics’: the deliberate breeding of human beings in vitro by fusing sperm and egg derived from different stem-cell lines to create an embryo and then deriving new gametes from stem cells derived from that embryo. Repeated iterations of this process would allow scientists to proceed through multiple human generations in the laboratory. In vitro eugenics might be used to study the heredity of genetic disorders and to produce cell lines of a desired character for medical applications. More controversially, it might also function as a powerful technology of ‘human enhancement’ by allowing researchers to use all the techniques of selective breeding to produce individuals with a desired genotype.”