Designer Humans

May 18, 2001 • Volume 11, Issue 19
Will altering human genes divide society?
By David Masci

Introduction

Recent biotechnology advances have brought the prospect of genetically altering human beings much closer to reality. But many question the ethics of creating made-to-order babies. (Corbis Images)
Recent biotechnology advances have brought the prospect of genetically altering human beings much closer to reality. But many question the ethics of creating made-to-order babies. (Corbis Images)

Recent advances in biotechnology have brought the prospect of genetically altering human beings much closer to reality. But ethicists argue that altering an embryo's genetic blueprint to make a baby smarter or healthier — or prettier — would destroy what it means to be human. There is also concern that genetically endowing children with selected traits will create a social divide between those who can and cannot afford the procedure. But proponents argue that genetically enhancing people will not devalue their humanity, just make them potentially smarter and healthier. They also dispute the notion of a “genetic divide,” noting that the rich already have a variety of means — from private schools to top-flight health care — to give their children advantages. Recent hearings on Capitol Hill continued the debate.

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Oct. 22, 2004  Cloning Debate
May 18, 2001  Designer Humans
May 12, 2000  Human Genome Research
Dec. 17, 1999  Embryo Research
May 28, 1999  DNA Databases
Apr. 03, 1998  Biology and Behavior
May 09, 1997  The Cloning Controversy
Dec. 08, 1995  Gene Therapy's Future
Apr. 08, 1994  Reproductive Ethics
Oct. 18, 1991  Gene Therapy
Aug. 16, 1991  Fetal Tissue Research
Jun. 30, 1989  Solving Crimes with Genetic Fingerprinting
Apr. 03, 1987  Biotechnology Developments
Jan. 10, 1986  Genetic Breakthroughs
Dec. 26, 1980  Genetic Business
Mar. 25, 1977  Genetic Research
May 19, 1971  Human Engineering
Aug. 20, 1969  Human Intelligence
Dec. 13, 1967  Genetics and the Life Process
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