Designing Evolution

The first laboratory engineering of the DNA of human embryos has prompted some serious questions

by Benjamin Hayward

If the technology existed to rid the human genome of genetic diseases, should it be used? This was an oft-asked question in 2015. The technology to do so is closer than ever before, and it has provoked a serious debate on an ethical dilemma once thought purely the purview of science fiction.

If, for instance, it is genetically determined that an embryo will be born with cystic fibrosis, should its parents alter its genes to forever eliminate the disease from the embryo and its offspring, or terminate the embryo and try again? Is there some fundamental human right to be born with an unaltered genetic heritage that must be respected for future generations? The question is one thing when it surrounds curing disease, but it becomes a great deal more controversial when one considers that …

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