Would You Design A Baby? Genetic Enhancement. Ethics.
Regular gene therapy only affects the genes of the individual undergoing the therapy. ‘Germline’ gene therapy allows the modified gene to be passed on to future generations.
Is that okay? The obvious question to ask here whether we should be interfering with natural human development.
The same technology can also be used for non-therapeutic genetic enhancement like designing children that have specific eye color, height, strength, or some other attribute.
So, how does this play out over time? You all know the answer. Rich people will create babies that are healthier and smarter and more attractive and poorer people won’t and the gap between rich and poor will expand. Not just financially but physically and mentally. Think about that for a second.
But there’s another issue. Different communities of people have different views about what success for their children looks like. Some think that success is having thicker bones or a longer neck or some other unusual body proportion.
If people continue adding more and more of a particular feature in the lineage of their children, then there will be as many variations of humans as there are of dogs.
“I predict we will abolish suffering throughout the living world. Our descendants will be animated by gradients of genetically pre-programmed well-being that are orders of magnitude richer than today’s peak experiences.”
― David Pearce, The Hedonistic Imperative