Century of the Gene: Engineering Perfect Children
Reid Hall, Room 102
Developments in genetics and reproductive technologies raise several ethical questions about the extent to which information and technologies should be used to select for desirable traits (or select against undesirable traits) in embryos. Genetic testing can provide a host of information about potentially harmful conditions, such as Tay Sachs, Down's Syndrome or other conditions that may be relevant to parents decision as to whether to terminate a pregnancy or which embryo to implant when using in vitro fertilization (IVF). Such testing can also provide information that might allow for parents to select for non-health related desirable traits, such as sex or eye color. Genetic engineering technologies may also allow for "enhancements" such as engineering embryos that have improved immune systems, or height.
The better our understanding of genetics, as well as improvements to genetic testing may increase opportunities for selecting for or against a wide range of traits such as obesity, alcoholism, and perhaps (more controversially) intelligence. The use of reproductive technologies to select for desired traits has long raised ethical concerns. This debate will explore the ethical limitations on using such technologies.
For more information:
Gourav Krishna Nandi, (Member, Phi Sigma Tau)