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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Human Genome Project was the first endeavor undertaken by an international consortium to discover what the genetic information in every human being meant, where it was and how it could be used.  At the time of the inception of the Human Genome Project, the benefits of understanding the genome and being able to manipulate genes were at best speculative; some declared this project a modern-day eugenic enterprise.  One of the fears expressed was that unlocking the secrets of the Human Genome might actually enable people to decide what traits they want their children to have, which would be quite opposite to the current method of random genetic exchange of parents’ traits.  Yet in order to understand how we might be able to juggle with our progeny’s traits, we need to discover what makes us human and individuals in the first place.  This was the purported goal of the Human Genome Project: to decipher our genetic code and understand what traits are commanded by which sequences of DNA, as well as their chromosomal location.  By looking at eugenics historically and examining the past mistakes made by scientists in the name of progress, we can gain a good perspective when dealing with the idea of creating life with an artificial twist: that of tailoring our babies’ traits to our tastes.

The Human Genome Project was the first endeavor undertaken by an international consortium to discover what the genetic information in every human being meant, where it was and how it could be used.  At the time of the inception of the Human Genome Project, the benefits of understanding the genome and being able to manipulate genes were at best speculative; some declared this project a modern-day eugenic enterprise. 

One of the fears expressed was that unlocking the secrets of the Human Genome might actually enable people to decide what traits they want their children to have, which would be quite opposite to the current method of random genetic exchange of parents’ traits.  Yet in order to understand how we might be able to juggle with our progeny’s traits, we need to discover what makes us human and individuals in the first place. 

This was the purported goal of the Human Genome Project: to decipher our genetic code and understand what traits are commanded by which sequences of DNA, as well as their chromosomal location.  By looking at eugenics historically and examining the past mistakes made by scientists in the name of progress, we can gain a good perspective when dealing with the idea of creating life with an artificial twist: that of tailoring our babies’ traits to our tastes.


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