The first genetically-guaranteed cancer-free baby was born this week in the UK.  She’s free of the gene BRCA-1 linked to breast and ovarian cancers.  It’s an interesting dilemma for ethicists who argue the risks and benefits on either side.  Though admittedly, I was at first somewhat concerned about the implications of such procedure, I had to admit, the idea of eradicating a gene altogether over time – a sort of human-enforced evolution, is appealing.  

At the same time, some of what makes us who we are are the same things that have the ability to destroy us.  Is it fair or right to select embryos for specific health, longevity, gender, or other attributes that make that embryo more appealing?  Should gene-screening be limited to health-issues.  What about mental health?  Or physical defects that have little to no effect on a person’s overall well-being?  

I think it’s a delicate issue and one that may carry repercussions we haven’t even yet considered.  Regardless of where you stand on the issue, I think it’s always important to examine the moral implications as well as the overall benefit science offers to mankind.

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