Designer Babies Essay

Submitted By jawski77
Words: 2227
Pages: 9

Adam Jaworski
Dr. Stromer
English 110
March 27, 2015

Designer Babies: The Future Filled With Healthy Children The movies and science fiction novels often portray science as overstepping its bounds and trying to change man by altering his genetic structure, only to suffer dire consequences or create some kind of monster. The population grows nervous when the idea of genetically modifying humans is mentioned. In a poll conducted by the Huffington Post in 2014 over 52% of the population were against genetically modifying humans for specific traits and 72% said they were worried or somewhat worried that science may start to “Play god” in terms of genetic modifications. (Moore, YouGov) While these statistics show the residual concerns the population has expressed ever since the words “Eugenics” and “Master Race” have been used, it fails to address the overall breakthroughs and benefits that science is making in genetics that seek to ensure a chance for a healthy life. Topics such as stem cell research have had open discussions in the public’s eye the need for further education is needed. The benefit of being able to genetically modify a child before birth to ensure a healthy child far outweigh the concerns against genetic modification. Where we are in terms of genetic modification is still relatively new. It all really began in 1953 when Francis Crick and James Watson published a letter to the magazine Nature in which the subtly state “suggests a possible copying mechanism for the genetic material.”(Crick, Watson, 737) this stated to the scientific community that the building blocks for the information that makes up genetic code was in DNA. In 1973 Hebert Boyer and Stanley Cohen reported the construction of functional organisms that combined and replicated genetic information from different species. Their experiments dramatically demonstrated the potential impact of DNA recombinant engineering on medicine and pharmacology, industry and agriculture. (“Paul Berg, Herbert W. Boyer, and Stanley N. Cohen” 1) Recombinant DNA is “joining together of DNA molecules from two different species that are inserted into a host organism to produce new genetic combinations that are of value to science, medicine, agriculture, and industry.”(Griffiths 1) Understanding the fact that splicing information from two different species, also created a great deal of concern. A committee of top scientist were gathered together in 1975 to discuss and set up regulations concerning genetic engineering. (“The Maxine Singer Papers”1) The concerns raised by the implications of this new technology have its roots in concerns over eugenics and biohazards. Most people when talking about genetically modified children raise concerns over the history of eugenics and how it can contribute to a new wave of eugenics. Eugenics which is “the selection of desired heritable characteristics in order to improve future generations, typically in reference to humans.”(Wilson 1), is what has been the basis for such dark portions of history such as the Holocaust. This historical tragedy can be heard foreshadowed in Adolph Hitler’s speech in Munich on April 12 1922:
“We must accept the mixing of blood as it is. We must not call one blood worse than another, one mixture better than another. Rather, we must employ other means to breed a higher form from this gray mass. We must try to bring to the surface the valuable traits of the people… to cultivate and to develop them, and we must find ways and means to prevent the propagation of all the bad, inferior, criminal and decadent tendencies and all the congenital diseases so damaging to the Volk.”(Hitler 1)
The result of this kind of eugenics resulted in the genocide of over 20,000,000 people by the Nazis. It is this kind of ideology that still concerns many today. What has been learned from the errors of the past, has led to open public discussions and a healthy dialogue. The progress that has been made, in terms