Aggregated News

eugenics graphic with three babies on different levels on yellow background

Would you select an embryo according to its chances of higher intelligence? And is that even possible? Sienna Rodgers explores the ‘second age of eugenics’

Which prospective parent has not wanted to influence how their child will turn out? It underpins our choice of partner, after all. But what if one could amplify that influence further, harnessing the latest advances in reproductive and genetic technologies to select for intelligence, say, or sporting ability? 

Worries about “designer babies” are as old as the dawn of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) 45 years ago, but the options available to parents are growing quickly, with even the NHS about to offer whole genome sequencing to healthy newborns. Are we in a “second age of eugenics”?

Bangladeshi-American geneticist Razib Khan hit headlines a decade ago when he sequenced his son’s genome in utero – meaning he determined his son’s entire genetic make-up – and as far as we know this was the first case of a healthy person having it done before birth. What was Khan looking for? “Any noticeable disease mutations, but the probability...