Eugenics

Eugenics refers to beliefs and practices aimed at producing human beings or populations with preferred or “better” characteristics. In the early twentieth century, eugenic ideas were popular in many countries and across the political spectrum, and provided scientific cover for practices and policy decisions targeting society’s most vulnerable communities. In the United States, these included the forced sterilization of tens of thousands of people considered “unfit,” stringent immigration restrictions, and public policies that encouraged “fitter families” to produce more children. In Germany, the Nazis used similar concepts to justify their extermination of Jews, people with disabilities, and other groups. A century later, many activists, bioethicists, and other scholars are concerned that a new form of eugenics may be on the horizon as market dynamics and individual choice, rather than government policies, drive decisions about our use of human genetic technologies.


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Many surprises come with having a baby, including learning your child's sex and discovering all the traits they inherited as they grow up. But what if parents could pick and choose their children's genetic makeup instead of leaving those traits up to nature? Such arrangements are increasingly possible, posing ethical and social dilemmas that more and more people are now facing.

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The New York Times recently reported that financier and recently-arrested sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein apparently believes in a philosophical strain called transhumanism.

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George Church, the prominent Harvard University biologist, offered a full-throated apology for having meetings and phone calls with accused sex...

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At the turn of the 20th century, U.S. scientists proposed the control of reproduction to advance society based on the...

image of a white man with curly grey hair

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close-up image of a hand on a wheelchair wheel

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gloved hand adding pipetting material into a vial labeled CRISPR

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white baby crawling away from camera

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scientist looking at a computer monitor

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Image of evolution of humans from apes to the future trans human

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