Oxford Professor: Parents Should Be Able to Alter Genes in Embryos for Character Flaws
August 20, 2012 10:08 PM
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(Source: Columbia Pictures )
Professor Julian Savulescu
The process would be similar to checking embryos for conditions like Down's syndrome
Imagine being able to design a human the way we use computer software to design every day items like clothing or furniture. University of Oxford Professor Julian Savulescu recently said that parents should have the choice to do such a thing, allowing them to create the kind of child they desire rather than leaving it to chance.
According to Savulescu, the
manipulation of genetics has evolved
over the years and has already proven to be beneficial to those who are expecting. For instance, parents can use tests, which focus on particular genes in embryos, to see if their child will have certain conditions like Down's syndrome.
While this type of testing is not seen as an issue, Savulescu said the testing of an embryo's genes to see what kind of personality flaws it could have has raised concern amongst the public -- and he believes it shouldn't.
"Indeed, when it comes to screening out personality flaws, such as potential alcoholism, psychopathy and disposition to violence, you could argue that people have a moral obligation to to select ethically better children," said Savulescu. "They are, after all, less likely to harm themselves and others. If we have the power to intervene in the nature of our offspring -- rather than consigning them to the natural lottery -- then we should."
Savulescu's ideas have been compared to those of the Nazis, who adopted the eugenics movements during World War II. However, Savulescu argues that this is different because parents can choose to participate or not. They don't have to genetically alter their children, but they should be able to choose to, he said.
"Whether we like it or not, the
future of humanity
is in our hands now," said Savulescu. "Rather than fearing genetics, we should embrace it. We can do better than chance."
Savulescu posed this argument in a recent article in
What do you think? Could eliminating potential character flaws in embryos create a perfect human race, or could there be serious, unseen implications with having so much power over this thing called life?
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
8/21/2012 3:33:46 AM
just because you can turn traits on/off in people doesn't mean they'll be superior to an unaltered person. You can tweak the recipe of tofu and it will never be bacon.
8/21/2012 4:24:22 AM
Writing something into the etherpipes does not make it true either.
Let's demonstrate: you start at one end of the tofu code and tweak everything to be the same as the bacon code. Next you splice in missing chunks and remove excess chunks. Then you grow it to a full sized fattened pig. Next you slice out, cure and smoke the pork belly. Finally you slice it up into thin strips and pan sear till it is delicious.
So yeah, good luck with thinking you can not create something stronger, faster, smarter, better through biotech. Even restricting yourself to just "turning traits on/off" that's enough right there to create a human genetically capable of being a model / Olympic athlete / Nobel winner.
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