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Category: 10. 4/25 Biotech and Society

A Future of Inequality

At first, it was just an opportunity for parents to select the hair and eye color of their baby. Now, genetically modifying embryos looks to be the way of the future. Genetically modifying embryos to create your designer baby is an expensive and slippery slope though. As people strive for perfection they can become blind to the consequences that may arise in spite of designer babies. Continue reading

Designer Babies: Do the Positives Outweigh the Negatives?

The constant strive for perfection is an everlasting struggle for our human race. The most important part in improvement and for the future of the human race, is our offspring. Designer babies is not a completely new idea, though it is an idea that has come closer to reality for our society. It is through the use of Crispr genes that allow for the creation of these ‘designer babies’.  New England Biolabs tells us the use of these Crispr genes are “essential in adaptive immunity in select bacteria and archaea, enabling the organisms to respond to and eliminate invading genetic material” (New England Biolabs). Essentially we are putting in genes to correct all the inferior material, therefore designing the baby. The use of crispr genes has already been put to use, as Kathy Niakan from the Francis Crick Institute has been granted allowance to use crispr genes by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (The Guardian). Niakan’s hopes are to pick out any issues earlier in the pregnancy process. As we can see, the path ahead for the correction of embryos, although optimistic, looks somewhat successful. Continue reading

Designer Babies: The Dawn of Biotechnology

Imagine a world in which we can prevent down syndrome or alzheimer’s disease, or understand that a fetus may be at high risk for heart issues or autism. Is this utopian-like world one that you would want to live in? After all, parents want to give their child the best of everything – the best clothes, the best home, the best education. Is it crazy to think that children should be gifted with the “best” genetic code as well? There is a lot of debate about whether genetic modification to an unborn child is morally wrong. In recent years, the process of mixing sperm and an egg in a test tube or dish, and then transferring this egg to a uterus has been gaining a lot of momentum in society. This process is known in vitro fertilization, or IVF, and is quite popular with adults who are looking to have kids but do not have the means. Children that are genetically modified before birth are known colloquially as “designer babies.” While genetic modification on unborn child could be useful in preventing disease and defects, it is important to note that in develloping this technology, we are awarding parents the power of choice. One concern regarding designer babies that is  held by many people is that the genetic modification of these children will begin as a practical way to prevent disease, but will end up a consumer product marketed to wealthy. If this were the case, it is conceivable that we could live in a society in which prospective parents are going to extreme financial lengths to ensure that their child has a certain color hair, or particularly bright eyes.

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