Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Designer Babies Blog Post 2

Potential Downfalls of Designer Baby Genetic Screening

In doing research for arguments against designer babies, I have found a few viewpoints that seem rooted in logic that I will discuss.

1) They may create a weak species.

I know, I know, this seems contradictory. I would immediately guess that designer babies would create a superior species, wouldn't you? It certainly may produce a population of people that are taller, faster, and stronger, but genetic diversity is of paramount importance to the longevity of a species.

Genetic diversity allows a species to survive changes in environmental stressors. For humans, these could be any number of things: from global warming, from decreased food supply/variety, or of particular importance from microbial threats (pathogens). The immune system in particular is especially strengthened by parents sharing genetically diverse genomes, which combine in the offspring to produce a greater variety of "specialized" immune cells that can sense pathogenic threats. 

A species lacking in genetic diversity contains a smaller pool of potential genetic advantages against changes in the environment. Those people susceptible to sunburn would function poorly in tropical or arid climates. Those people lacking in strength or athletic ability would find hunting more difficult if it ever again became a commonplace practice to acquire food.

2) It may create an underclass of non-designers, widening the rift between upper and lower class.

Anyone seen GATTACA?


Make sure to check it out sometime. Men (and ladies, if it's your thing), Uma Thurman is in it, so it has that going for it. Likewise, ladies (and dudes on that side), it stars a double threat of Jude Law AND Ethan Hawke. Perhaps most importantly, it sports an IMDB score of 7.8, making it a Top 5000 movie.

Designer babies would come at a price. Most likely, that price would be quite significant. This is the primary reason many are against this practice. The wealthy and poor are already quite divided in society; this would produce an even wider gap, with the wealthy perpetuating their own advantage from birth, and the poor becoming even further disadvantaged.

Perhaps the best method to promote these procedures would be to not "release" technology until it was cheap enough for the majority to afford. Otherwise, it may need to be covered under insurance policies, and I don't see that happening.

Some additional links to check out:





  1. (1) is rarely mentioned, but makes a lot of sense.

    And so does the proposal "to not 'release' technology until it was cheap enough for the majority to afford" - but I'm not holding my breath.

  2. I agree, the evolutionary impact of genetic design isn't brought up much, and I need to check our this top 5000 movie, GATTACA.