Genetic Supermarket

Paul Seabright

  • What sort of people should there be? by Jonathan Glover
    Penguin, 187 pp, £2.50, January 1984, ISBN 0 14 022224 3

Positive genetic engineering – aimed not just at the elimination of identifiable genetic defects but at the promotion of physical, mental and emotional characteristics in our descendants by direct genetic manipulation – is likely to be technologically possible in the fairly near future. How should we greet this development? The history of our century has given ample reason to fear the abuse of such technology in the hands of totalitarian governments. But the caution that should temper our response does not exhaust the issues raised, nor does it necessarily override all other considerations. Just as the morality of splitting the atom raises questions in fields far beyond the reach of Doctor Strangelove, so genetic engineering confronts us with questions that stand clear of the shadow of Auschwitz and Brave New World.

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