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genome

After the coronavirus baby bust is over and fertility clinics are booming again, increasing numbers of new parents will bring home a generation of infants prescreened to perform better at school or basketball, resist heart disease or be less likely to have schizophrenia.

It may not be common yet, but the ability to screen embryos for any number of traits is here now, and improving every day. And this brave new world of genetic prediction I’m describing is not just about selecting babies during in vitro fertilization. It could also involve life insurance companies swabbing your cheek before issuing you a policy, preschools and colleges scoring your DNA as part of their admissions process and dating sites asking for your genetic profile before offering you a match.

But with this new technology comes countless ethical questions. Is embryo selection a good thing or a bad thing — or both? How do we balance potential inequities created against potential lives saved or improved? Do we want to keep genetics from becoming destiny, and what does that even mean? We desperately need...

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