Designer babies are here

Not quite, but almost. Doctors in the U.K. have successfully screened embryos made in vitro to ensure that one did not carry a mutation in the Rb gene, which produces a hereditary form of eye cancer (retinoblastoma) and an increased risk of other cancers. It’s a terrible burden to know that you have a 50% chance of passing along a potentially lethal gene to your offspring, one that I hope I never have to face. However, to create embryos in a lab with the express purpose of selecting ones to implant (and probably discarding the diseased ones) is one step towards the day when families will be able to select from a menu the exact combination of their genes (or those of sperm/egg donors–think about that) they desire in their children. I sympathize with the mother in this case, but the means she used to ensure healthy offspring is not one that we should condone.

(HT: Drudge)


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