Genes Search Brings Warning over Ethics of Designer Babies

Daily Mail (London), October 2, 2002 | Go to article overview

Genes Search Brings Warning over Ethics of Designer Babies


MORE and more scientists are searching for genes that control human behaviour, a report warns today.

It raises the spectre of the first true 'designer babies', says the influential Nuffield Council on Bioethics, a committee of leading doctors and scientists.

The report suggests it could soon be possible to screen embryos for 'various behavioural traits'.

While the possibility of truly designing a child by choosing characteristics from a menu of possibilities is still in the realms of science fiction, experts may be able to select for genes involved in traits such as intelligence and aggression.

Couples have already been allowed to have their embryos screened for a range of diseases, and were recently given the go-ahead to select babies so that they are ideal tissue donors for sick siblings.

But so far the screening of embryos for behavioural traits, including aggression and IQ, has not been considered.

The report, the first to examine the ethical, legal and social issues raised by research into behavioural genetics, insists it should remain outlawed. …

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