Sunday, January 11, 2009

But is it Right?

Where do we draw the line between healthy babies and eugenics? Should we even consider drawing it?
I ask these questions because:
The process involved the use of multiple embroyos, which were each screened for the target "breast cancer gene." Note that the selected embroyo itself was not genetically altered, it was enough that it was free of the offending gene. Note, too, that having the gene is not in and of itself a guarantee that one will develop breast cancer; it's believed that absence of the gene effectively eliminates that particular risk.
All well and good, so far.
The dilemna arises out of the potential other uses of this technique: will "designer babies" be screened for the presence (or absence) of the "blue eye" gene? The "freckles" gene? How about the "shortness" gene?
Or perhaps the one which determines whether we're looking at pink or blue blankets?
Or poor report cards?
I'm concerned that this is a slippery slope, and we're not really sure how, or where, it will end. If the genetic marker for Alzheimer's show up, what then?
Brave new world, indeed.
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