Monday, April 20, 2015
Designer Babies: Blog Post One
My blog posts will consider the possibility of designer babies. This first blog post is intended to accomplish 2 things:
1) Discuss the current possibilities with designer babies. What does our current technology allow us to do with regards to genetic modification of our offspring? What is realistically in the near future?
2) Discuss the potential benefits of designer babies that are most rewarding (and there are many).
The second blog post is intended to:
1) Discuss the potential downfalls of designer babies that may be the most destructive (and there are many).
The third blog post is intended to:
1) Discuss my opinion on the subject, which hopefully will materialize out of thin air by the time I get to the third post, because right now I am very conflicted (as I am in most philosophical discussions).
The current technology regarding designer babies is not quite to the point where many people begin to disagree with the practice itself. Currently, researchers may already utilize genetic analysis on gametes to determine the possibility of genetic illness before implanting the gamete. This process is essentially pre-genetic “screening,” and can eliminate some potentially genetic defects to appear from the offspring (i.e. Down Syndrome). In fact, doctors are currently able to screen for more than 400 common genetic diseases today, and that number continues to grow. However, technology does not currently allow for direct genetic modifications via the insertion or deletion of gene segments, or direct manipulations of the genome to choose for common physical traits like hair/eye color, height, etc. Even so, parents do have the option to create multiple gametes and choose which gamete to fertilize based on the genetic analysis.
The potential benefits of such technology should be obvious. Perhaps the most immediate benefit of genetic screening and designer babies is the fact that parents can eliminate the possibility that their child is born with a debilitating genetic disease, one that could result in debilitating phenotypic consequences and long-term suffering (for both parties, parent and offspring). The elimination of such diseases on the population presents a strong argument for pro-designer baby arguers, and may carry even greater effects down the line when more advanced screening becomes available (i.e. genes which increase the chance of cancer, heart disease, etc.). To a supporter of designer baby genetic screening, it would almost seem unethical to deny our offspring the best chance at life via a genetic pre-screening.
Another potential benefit of such technology is the creation of a phenotypically “pure” and superior race of human beings. With enough generations employing this technology, the future of the human race would be theoretically in the hands of a perfect species with the current genetic pool available, and may even result in the creation of a new, superior species altogether, one that could answer many of the current mysteries of life due to their elite intelligence, focus, and intuition.