(in Redesigning Life? The Worldwide Challenge to Genetic Engineering, edited by Brian Tokar, New York: Zed Books, 2001)
"Life is entering a new phase in its history. We are seizing control of our own evolution." -- Gregory Stock (1)
"No one really has the guts to say it....If we could make better human beings by knowing how to add genes, why shouldn't we do it?" -- James Watson (2)
The technology to produce human clones--genetic copies of existing people--is within reach of today's researchers and fertility doctors. By the time you, or perhaps the children you know, decide to have babies, cloning may well be an option.
Designer babies--children whose genes have been permanently altered to "enhance" them physically or behaviorally, and who will pass their modified genes on to their own children-- represent a far more difficult technical maneuver. Some influential geneticists are convinced that designer-baby technology, too, will be available within the next few decades. Together with a small but increasingly assertive bunch of biotech entrepreneurs, bioethicists, social theorists, and journalists, these scientists are avidly promoting a...