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  (Source: Columbia Pictures )

Professor Julian Savulescu  (Source:
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 Reader's Digest

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?

Source: The Telegraph

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RE: but...
By karndog on 8/21/2012 11:45:33 AM , Rating: 2
It's been a long time since i watched that movie, but if i recall correctly that was an extreme scenario because the Government and employers had eveyones DNA on record, so the enhanced citizens were almost reserved good careers while the "norms" were treated as second class citizens as you said and severely disadvantaged.

In reality if background checks like that were made illegal then there wouldnt be the segregation you see in the movie. Of course there would be the people who cant afford the "GM" babies, but they arent going to suddenly become obselete unless something drastic happens like trippling of IQ.
Depending on what the enhanced child does with his extra potential, the advantage could be no bigger than sending your kid to an expensive private school. And even with an IQ of 250, if all he wants to do is sit at home and smoke pot and play Xbox and party instead of going to medical/law school, then you might as well halve that IQ there and then.

I think knowing that they are born "disadvantaged," will just motivate the ones who truley want to achieve greatness even more so.

RE: but...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/21/2012 12:03:35 PM , Rating: 2
In reality if background checks like that were made illegal then there wouldnt be the segregation you see in the movie.

How would it be made illegal? You have no right to DNA privacy. You leave it everywhere you go. Your hair falls out, your saliva is left on a drink cup, an eyelash falls out. Just like in the movie, anyone could scan these and know everything about you.

Employers already have the right to drug test you, which can even include blood tests not just the urine tests. So is it THAT far fetched to imagine a Gattaca type future where everyone's finger is pricked to DNA scan employees blood?

Look I don't usually go around saying "Movie X will happen" and apply it to current debates. But Gattaca I thought portrayed a very realistic and relevant viewpoint on how society would change if this were to happen.

RE: but...
By karndog on 8/21/2012 12:26:41 PM , Rating: 2
It would be difficult, but it would have to be very strictly enforced with massive fines and deterrents. Obviously you cant stop someone collecting your DNA once it leaves your body, but companys caught using or amassing a bank of DNA to test applicants for job interviews instead of your actual credentials would have to be severely punished.
Even conduct job interviews via teleconference, so they don't have a chance to collect your DNA legally or illegally. If you get the job and you come in on your first day and are fired because they've done an illegal test, then that's grounds for unfair dismissal and discrimination, which even today is something employers take very seriously.

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