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The condemnation of eugenics went too far and it needs reassessment, a leading scientist is arguing.

Eugenics is the science of using genetics ostensibly to "improve" mankind.

The idea that this was a good thing had wide currency throughout the early part of the 20th century.

However, the concept got a bad name in the 1930s when the Nazis determined that they would use it to create a "master race".

Now Richard Lynn, Emeritus professor of Psychology at the University of Ulster, has written a book in which he says it is time for a re-think.

He told the BBC that advances in medical technology, such as the pre-natal diagnosis of pregnant women for genetically disordered foetuses, meant that in a sense eugenics was already being practised.

"The general principle of eugenics, that we could improve the genetic quality of the population need taking seriously.

"The new medical technology of eugenics is going to take off, because it satisfies the needs of individuals, both for themselves and as parents.

"Parents would like to have children who are free of genetic...