Designer Babies May Become A Reality
Center for Law and the Biosciences fellow Jacob Sherkow comments on the possibility of genetically engineered children in the near future in The Citizen.
While designer babies – a slang term referring to aspects of genetic engineering – are not yet a reality, with the ever-increasing advancements in genetic technology the probability is not far off.
Recently, a genomics company in California called 23andMe were awarded a patent for a technology that could possibly create babies with selected traits. The idea is that “good” genes would be selected beforehand and the embryos modified to boost the possibility of a child bearing specific cosmetic attributes, intelligence levels or athletic ability.
Based on this possibility the company received a great deal of public backlash from people who viewed the process as unethical. With this in mind, Jacob Sherkow, an expert on biotechnology patents at Stanford University’s law school, says: “Test tube babies were seen as an abomination, but today they are routine and boring. 23andMe’s patent is a shot across the bows that this is what the future is going to look like.”