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For those unaware of how much biotechnology is changing the very nature of human identity, now is the time for a quick game of catch-up.

A good place to start might be Bregtje van der Haak’s documentary film, DNA Dreams. It highlights the resources being expended, globally, to pursue utopian visions of “curing” just about every social misery, through genetic manipulation. Disease, hunger, stupidity… it will all be edited out of the genome; whilst harmony, musicality and soaring intellectualism will become the new norm, just by transplanting our mitochondria, editing our nuclei, enhancing our chemistry.

Of course, if you believe that complex traits like intelligence or sociality or political disposition are entirely reducible to genetic functions, I won’t be able to dissuade you here. Welcome to Oz. But if you worry that factors like education or diet or stress or race—or kindness and cruelty—have at least equal claim upon our life prospects, then take a look at a few recent bioethical happenings begging for our collective attention.

A momentous technological revolution is unfolding in our very real,... see more