Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Ready for eugenics 2.0?

Posted 24 Oct 2012 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher EducationReinventing Ourselves

This article is — in a word — scary.

After dangling a couple of vague promises to engineer our susceptibility to viruses out of our collective genome (7 billion visits to the DNA doctor later), these authors plow enthusiastically into a variety of wild territories: resurrecting Neanderthals and making our own version of evolution.

This is the conceit of engineers: the ability to build some things can fool one into thinking that building anything is both possible and desirable. The ethics of creating a Neanderthal and damning that individual to surviving in modern society (a scenario that makes one wonder what would happen if George Orwell made GEICO commercials)? Ethics? What ethics? Messing with the DNA of what would become a living, breathing, human being based on scant knowledge of how our genomes work? No problem.

Gene jockeys had better get their science in order before they start engineering. There is a mound of genome data available for all to explain, but not much explanation being made. Please tell me how that genome actually works before you start trying to engineer it.

A Minor Post, Articles, Development, Epigenetics, Ethics, Evolution, Gene by Environment Interactions, Genetic Engineering, Genetics, Homo species, Human Evolution

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