Research such as the Human Genome Project has now “mapped” genes linked to a host of human traits including eye colour, athletic ability, IQ, and aggression.
It even carries weight in court — convicted murderer Abdelmalek Bayout had his sentence reduced when it emerged he had genes linked to violent behaviour.
Bioethicists have warned the technology to alter DNA could be abused for purposes of eugenics — making new “superhumans” in a chilling similarity to fascist ideals of the 20th century.
“Some people won’t be able to resist the temptation to improve human characteristics, such as memory, resistance to disease and length of life”
“I am sure that during this century, people will discover how to modify both intelligence and instincts such as aggression,” he wrote.
“Laws will probably be passed against genetic engineering with humans.
“But some people won’t be able to resist the temptation to improve human characteristics, such as memory, resistance to disease and length of life.”
This would potentially have dire consequences for the class of “unimproved humans” who could not compete.
But that changed at the end of 2018.
He Jiankui genetically-altered the embryos despite the practice being banned in his resident country.
But there are far easier ways to prevent HIV, which now can also be effectively treated with modern medicine to the point it never becomes the killer disease AIDS.
Harvard University scientist George Church, who helped develop gene-editing method CRISPR, said it might not be the last time a lone wolf acts.
“We either allow or outlaw,” he said.
“If the latter, then we may drive it underground — just as it is moving from hypothetical speculation to rigorous testing.”
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