Genetics Controversy -- Forum
(This forum has been recrafted by GG to include the actual Vermont public Radio Show to which the forum refers; a summary by Anemesia (who brought up the idea in her blog) and Qwerty's comment (she created first version of this forum -- Thanks!))
I heard this enlightening report on VPR's Vermont Edition of February 26th on genetics, and our role in predetermining them for our children. I'd love to bring discussion of the issue here.
The background story:
People have always dreamed of being able to edit themselves into more desirable shapes and sizes, shades and lengths. The fact that every single cell in the human body has its own set of instructions - all or most of which would need to be edited to make the change - makes it impossible (in the near future) to edit ourselves while we are grown. Thus, we turn to our children.
Recent developments essentially make it possible to edit our children's genes right now. Isn't that convenient? So why isn't everything like Gattaca now, you ask?
At first glance, this seems a wonderful opportunity. A chance to make their child the greatest of her peers and a star among all those in the metaphorical sky is something that all parents would leap at, no? What if we, this generation, were able to rid our children of such a simple thing as acne? At first, the obvious answer to this question is yes!
However, just how far is one willing to go? Perhaps it is an opportunity, yes, but what if it is an expensive opportunity? The rich would become even better-off with their tailored bodies, and the class divide would widen. It's even possible that we would undergo speciation if the divide grew large enough; and become two separate species of human, incapable of breeding together. This is just one of the many theoretical dangers associated with this theoretical practice.