Picture a young couple in a waiting room looking through a catalogue together. This catalogue is a little different from what you might expect. In this catalogue, specific traits for babies are being sold to couples to help them create the "perfect baby." This may seem like a bizarre scenario, but it may not be too far off in the future. Designing babies using genetic enhancement is an issue that is gaining more and more attention in the news. This controversial issue, once thought to be only possible in the realm of science-fiction, is causing people to discuss the moral issues surrounding genetic enhancement and germ line engineering. Though genetic research can prove beneficial to learning how to prevent hereditary diseases, the genetic enhancement of human embryos is unethical when used to create "designer babies" with enhanced appearance, athletic ability, and intelligence.
Manipulating the genes of plants and animals is a feat we have mastered already. We are very close to doing the same thing with humans in an attempt to make them smarter, bigger and leaner (McKibben 22). Gregory Stock, an apostle of human engineering,' said of human germ line engineering, "It touches at the very core of what it means to be human. We are seizing control of our own evolution" (Gianelli 25). Mr. Stock summarized the very basis of genetic enhancement in this quote.
In order to understand the arguments for and against genetic enhancement, one must first understand what it entails. In 19...
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...es would create a world similar to that described by Aldous Huxley in Brave New World, where prejudice and discrimination based on genetic engineering is the norm and being natural is almost a sin.
Council for Responsible Genetics (CRG). "Human Genetic
Manipulation and Cloning." Accessed 09 March 2004.
Gianelli, Diane M. "Prenatal gene therapy put on hold for
now." American Medical News 1 Feb 1999: 21, 24-25.
Josefson, Deborah. "US centre offers choice over sex of
baby." BMJ 19 Sept 1998: 768.
McKibben, Bill. "Design-a-kid." Christian Century 17 May
Silver, Lee M. Remaking Eden. New York: Avon, 1998.
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