I recently read an article in our local newspaper indicating that 23andMe, a genetic testing company, has been granted US. Patent No. 8,543,339, entitled “Gamete donor selection based on genetic calculations.” (Wow, that’s a mouthful, isn’t it?)
Essentially, as I understand it (and I have absolutely no scientific background, mind you), the purpose is to enable people to predict the genetic traits of babies based on the DNA of the parents.
I’d like to think the patent was obtained with the viewpoint that parents could breed out inherited diseases, but I’m guessing there are people who would love to use such testing to “design” their offspring – you know:
Add a Gene/Change a Gene/Delete a Gene (E-I-E-I-O)
Without getting into the ethics and politics surrounding this patent, I would simply like to say:
If parents could design their offspring, 99.9% of the kids born in the future would behave a whole lot differently than they do today.
I mean, what prospective mother could resist the opportunity to breed into her child an obsession to clean his or her own room without prompting?
What prospective father could resist growing the next [INSERT NAME OF PRO-SPORTS PLAYER HERE]?
Both parents would want to assure that their 16-year-old daughters had an inborn aversion to dating before the age of 30 (and then only with Dad’s express permission).
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if parents could totally breed out sassing, stubbornness, “I hate you and wish you were dead!”, etc. etc.
Never mind the blue eyes, handsome face, beautiful body – I want to choose my kids’ personalities!
Can we find a way to take the kids who are already here and change their genetics NOW, so that they become Stepford-children?
I love all three of my girls, but it would have been so much easier to raise them if they didn’t have that normal teenage hatred of obedience!
So what do you say, folks – want to get on-board with the idea of assembly-line children? Or should we just muddle through with genetically flawed beings like those that populate the world today? After all, you wouldn’t have to worry about your perfectly designed child growing up to become, say, an actor, a comedian, a writer [heaven forbid!], or a politician. Is that cool or what?
(Actually, now that I think of it, that patent is self-destructive. People who would choose to “design” their offspring are so flawed themselves that their DNA isn’t likely to make it into that new gene pool anyway.)
I always love to hear from my readers: firstname.lastname@example.org