It seems that we are moving towards a new era of eugenics, and in the near future, our choice of a partner will be based not on the feelings of love, but on the genetic compatibility.
In the dystopian film Gattaca, full-fledged members of society could be only people born after a careful examination of the genetic code. All others were assigned the role of cleaners.
Professor Armand Leroi from King’s College London predicts that a steadily decreasing cost of DNA scan can lead to a society based on genetic superiority.
At the Open Forum «Euroscience» 2012 in Dublin, Leroi said that in his opinion, in the next five to ten years, paying to access one’s complete genetic code will be standard practice for young people.
It is quite natural that the desire to have healthy children will lead future generations to want to assess the genetic diagram of their prospective partner. Having the necessary information, future couples will be able to use the technology of artificial insemination to conceive a child that will not be subject to any incurable disease.
However, he adds, it is unlikely that people will have the “luxury” to use technology to create a child with a certain intelligence level or eye color but instead, will focus more on the prevention of severe genetic diseases.
Leroi also said that the cost of genetic sequencing drops so quickly that “very, very soon it will be very, very affordable“. As an example, he pointed out that the price of genetic sequencing fell from one million a decade ago to about four thousand dollars today.
He noted that, in a sense, eugenics is already with us because every year, tens of thousands of abortions are performed for unborn children with Down syndrome and other genetic diseases.
“These processes already take place in most European countries. Many of the ethical issues that arise when people talk about neo-eugenics disappear as soon as you start to offer a selection of genes or the choice of a partner as a eugenic tool. We have actually come to the determination of the genes that make a person.”
Philippa Taylor of the Christian medical fraternity says that society should “recognize and resist the eugenic way of thinking“.
“The growing obsession in our society by celebrity status, physical perfection and high intelligence fuels the view that people with various disabilities or genetic diseases are somehow not worth to live”, said Taylor in an interview for a British newspaper.
“We have to recognize and resist the eugenic thinking. Our priorities should be the development of drugs and supportive measures for people suffering from genetic diseases, and not the destruction of these people before they are born”, she adds.
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