Genetically selected babies

Tom Marcinko @ 17-03-2009

dna-manA first for Spain. An earlier version of the story was calling it the first ever, but that can’t be true, can it?

The mother of a child whose life has been saved thanks to the stem cells from the birth of his brother, who was genetically modified to serve such a purpose, has said ‘Andrés is happy.’ The 7 year old boy has now overcome a severe hereditary congenital anaemia, thanks to the blood from Javier Mariscal, his newly born brother.

snip

The couple explained that they had decided not to have another child with the problem, but when the possibility of the Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis arose, they had no doubts, especially as they really wanted another child. Now Andrés will [presumably] have a normal life, instead of living just 35 years, the average for someone with what is now his previous condition.

Wishing the family well, and not wanting to be a Luddite, but readers can probably recite the ethical concerns for themselves.

[DNA Man: tom.arthur]

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3 Responses to “Genetically selected babies”

  1. khannea suntzu says:

    Don’t be silly. Many parents, even in the first world, take children “to help out in the store” or “to help on the farm” or “to continue the family estate”. Children are not just welcome guests at the party, they are also ordered from the stork-o-matic to serve as proxy immortality and serve to retain parental values into the future.

    I have a question to all futurismic readers: Speculating… say if you could create small, very resilient, self repairing biomechanical robots, about minimally 1 to 10 kilo max, that could last centuries, could work at specific ordained tasks, could be *engineered* to survive in any habitat you create, don’t run amok beyond the task you assign them, even have near human (your) intelligence when close together in a swarm ….. *and* they can create offspring and diversify to some extent.

    Design your favorite brand of scurrying biomechanical botling – design how they look – design their operating parameters – attribute them your values – and best of all, if over 100 are together touching and interfacing, they have a fairly complete memory of you, all your memories, and what you consider important. If you want them to! They would remember being you, inside them, long after you are dead.

    Question:

    What if I were the fairy godmother and I gave 100 futurismic readers this option – to create a species of procreating, smart (about as intelligent as a chimp), tool using, capable of repairing little botoids. Any shape allowed. Can adapt. Can harvest minerals. Can create little robot minipart factories from available materials.

    How many futurismic users would refuse?

    How many would use the option?

    Would they make the critters remember their human progenitor?

    How useless would it be NOT to take this option, knowing the majority of this 100 would in fact take the option?

    What if some futurismic users programmer their robospawn to predate on *other* robospawn strains, for spare parts and useful data and as slaves?

    …what if one futurismic reader made his minions spread with no limit, potentially overrunning the planet?

    …(or you could inceive “bluespawn” cops/vigilantes/mercenarybots of course)…

    What precisely is the difference between that and what humans do with their infants?

    What year will these kind of antics be possible in the actual world? 2035? 2060? 2100? Never?

    Discuss.

  2. Evil Rocks says:

    This is one of those situations where to quote the Greatest Rapper Alive, “If getting high is wrong, I don’t wanna be right”.

    It appears to me that modern ethics needs an overhaul. I didn’t have a hand in writing your buggy-ass code, so don’t expect me to feel particularly bound to it, America.

  3. Tom Marcinko says:

    Gee, all I said was…

    Well, maybe you’ll like this:

    University of Calgary researchers teach little robots to be scared of angry humans