Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Well This is Problematic...

Designer babies? Embryos produced free of disease and bred for excellence... sounds a little futuristic, but according to a study recently published in a London journal of medicine, we're slouching rapidly towards Gomorrah even now.

Genetic researchers in the UK have been successful at creating "designer embryos", a disturbing enough concept in and of itself, but wait, it gets worse. These babies (oh, excuse me, clumps of cells) have, essentially, 3 parents. That's right, 3. Using the "emptied egg" of one female donor, scientists injected the genetic material of another female and the sperm of a male donor to create, well, life.

The muffin pan, oh excuse me, the emptied egg of the first female donor was necessary to counteract the genetic defect in female number two, whose mitochondrial defects predisposed her future progeny to a whole host of diseases including epilepsy, muscular dystrophy and worst of all, (gasp) mental retardation. Thank God we can weed out inferior strains of humanity in the laboratory now... I feel like there may have been a research team striving toward these same results say, oh, I don't know, 60 or so years ago? Somewhere in Europe maybe...

I can't help but wonder, had this technology been available all along, would we all be equally eligible for great parking spaces?

"But surely," some will protest, "surely you don't advocate for disease (gasping and shuddering) and suffering?" If we can fix it, we ought to. But who's to say we're fixing anything in the first place? This is not a breakthrough vaccination or some kind of revolution in preventative healthcare: this is Frankensteinian laboratory manipulation that yields a baby with three freaking parents! Yeah, he might be seizure-free now that we've rid him of that pesky genetic predisposition to epilepsy, but he has two mommies and a daddy... let's consider the cost of future therapy here...

What we do with our bodies matters. And the ends, however glorious (you will be as Gods... sound familiar?) never justify the means. And if there are any handicapped individuals reading this today (read: people with some kind of physical or mental "defect",) I apologize on behalf of the rest of "perfected" humanity for denying you your existence. But really it's all for the best, you understand...

Thanks for taking one for the team.


http://www6.comcast.net/news/articles/health/2008/02/05/Embryo.Research/

1 comment:

  1. That is quite disturbing, I wish bothered more people. The bottom line is that people don't see all human life as equally valuable today. We think much more highly of the rich, famous, beautiful, and healthy. Genetic manipulation is just putting that belief into practice. Unfortunately it is nothing new, as you pointed out with the Nazi eugenics. Or in the 1930's, with Aldous Huxley's "A Brave New World." If you think about it, the is the same as infanticide or abortion. With all of these, you have an intervention due to "unfavorable" characteristics. The driving motive of all of these actions being, "We don't want a child that is less than our standard of perfect."

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