Video: Stem Cell Scientist Asks, “What if My Neighbor’s Kid Was Genetically Modified?”

Bioethics   |   Rebecca Taylor   |   Dec 14, 2015   |   2:31PM   |   Washington, DC

With the advent new DNA editing technology, many people are already fantasizing about creating designer babies. Some parents are salivating over the ability to make their children just how they desire: smart, athletic, tall, strong, beautiful.

What parents do not realize is that it is a futile endeavor; a battle no parent will ever be able to win. Whatever upgrades they put into their child will be obsolete in ten years, maybe even five years. Designer children means obsolete children – children in constant need of more upgrades just to keep up. This is a horror I hope we never experience.

Unfortunately, once one group of parents start upgrading, the rest of us will feel compelled to do the same. Having a natural child just won’t be acceptable. No parent wants their child to start off day one already at a disadvantage.

Paul Knoepfler is a stem cell scientist who is by no means a conservative, but he clearly gets what is at stake when we talk about germ-line genetic enhancements. He gave this TED Talk in Vienna that is fantastic. I will let him walk you through the “what if” of genetically enhanced children. Note his subtle implication that enhancements are incredibly coercive.

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