Should Parents Be Able to Choose Their Children's Genes? Imagine a world where parents can choose their children's intelligence, personality, or eye color. This world may not be too far away. The same technology that is being used for gene therapy, where healthy genes are inserted into DNA to correct a hereditary disease, will soon be used for the enhancement of human beings. Parents are already able to choose the sex of their child, and, in the near future, parents will have the capabilities to choose much more than that. The idea of choosing genes is not new at all. For thousands of years, people have practiced eugenics, the process of selective breeding to produce people with good traits (Macer, pp.
214-235). This form of tampering with humans was as controversial then as it is now. Positive eugenics is when people try to control the marriage or mating of people with desirable traits in order to produce children with these same traits (Macer, pp. 214-235). In negative eugenics, people attempt to prevent or decrease the occurrence of certain hereditary diseases (Macer, pp.
214-235). From ancient times up until a few centuries ago, unhealthy babies or babies born with deformities were often killed at birth (Macer, pp. 214-235). Plato recommended that only "the best of both the sexes" be allowed to reproduce, and only the best offspring should be kept (Macer, pp.
214-235). The Bible also supports certain principles of eugenics. Jews are told to be careful when choosing a marriage partner and are not allowed to marry an insane person, someone from a family of lepers or epileptics, or someone that is too closely related (Macer, pp. 214-235). All of these would help prevent the likelihood of offspring inheriting a genetic disease (Macer, pp. 214-235).
The Human Genome Project, which is working to create a map of all the human genes, is helping to make both genetic therapy and genetic enhancement possible. Much controversy surrounds all of these topics. With a map of the human genome, it will soon be possible to determine which part of the gene is responsible for any disease or trait. This knowledge will allow people to be screened for a gene to determine whether or not they have a specific disease. Gene therapy, in which a few cells in the body are changed to cure a disease, could also be used once it is known what diseases people are carrying. I am for the use of gene therapy and gene screening, as they will be used to help save human lives and to treat diseases.
However, I am against genetic enhancement, which would allow people to decide what traits their children will have. web web web web web web web web web web web.