Are perfect babies just science fiction?

Publié le : 7 September 2013

 A world in which there would exist only perfect human beings, or even clones, may not be science fiction. Because people could really succeed in selecting the features and aptitudes of their children in a catalogue in order to give them the best chances. This human control of the beginning of life without taking moral considerations into account, is "coming soon and we’re heading for it with our eyes closed" reveals an article in Rue 89 published on 3 July. It points out: "all the techniques enabling the coming of this world have become real or are about to be accessible." This is called genomics or "the study of the genome of living organisms," an extremely lucrative science: it will be worth close to "€1,000 billion per year in the world’s economy by 2025."

This would lead firstly to terrifying discrimination: "The richest people would have the most attractive, intelligent and disease-resistant children, leaving by the roadside the other humanity, hideously normal and natural," and then to the acceptance of eugenics. A propos, we learned some months ago that a Chinese company, BGI Shenzen, "had collected samples of DNA from 2,000 of the most ‘intelligent’ people on the planet." For what purpose? "To identify the genes and genetic interactions that determine the performance of the intellect and, eventually, to add 5 to 15 IQ points to each generation of Chinese citizens." It is clear that this is eugenics because the method used here, without modifying the embryo, "identifies the ‘top performers’ thanks to a preimplantation diagnosis after in-vitro fertilization," and eliminates the children with an IQ that is too low or not at average level.   
The other recent technique consists of sequencing the genome of a foetus during pregnancy without harming it. [Today, this technique is currently used to screen for Down syndrome (Editor’s note: using a non-invasive prenatal diagnosis)]. Once again the aim is eugenic because the goal is to "diagnose serious genetic diseases in order to terminate the pregnancy." So the question is to know “where to put the limit when researchers are continuing to identify more and more genetic markers responsible for certain disorders.

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