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 12:29:14 PM
Are we really that scared to learn to use our new abilities? Inventing the wheel, but never daring to use it, because "that damned machine will only provide us a fast ride to Hell!" Many parents would give their all to have healthy children. So many people struggle, due to genetic facts beyond their control. How can you be preaching acceptance of one's disabilities, instead of trying to cure them?
I can see how religious people would see it as blasphemy to mess with the designs of the Creator. But for the rest of us, who do not feel the urge to call someone "Lord" and bow before him, what is the excuse not to take our evolution into our own hands? Yes, mistakes will be made and things will go wrong. Every beginning is rocky. But the potential gain is immense!
All this guy is advocating is choice. As I associate choice with freedom, it'll always have my vote.
Besides, if genetic modifications gain speed somewhere, anywhere, the rest of the world will likely be forced to do the same, in order to remain relevant.
"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home
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