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Designer Babies

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the wings-and-a-nice-prehensile-tail dept.

Biotech 902

Singularity Hub writes "The Fertility Institutes recently stunned the fertility community by being the first company to boldly offer couples the opportunity to screen their embryos not only for diseases and gender, but also for completely benign characteristics such as eye color, hair color, and complexion. The Fertility Institutes proudly claims this is just the tip of the iceberg, and plans to offer almost any conceivable customization as science makes them available. Even as couples from across the globe are flocking in droves to pay the company their life's savings for a custom baby, opponents are vilifying the company for shattering moral and ethical boundaries. Like it or not, the era of designer babies is officially here and there is no going back."

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design this (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26991921)

,,|,,

ha.

Babies are the problem (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26991955)

I'm sick and tired of these designer babies and their fancy jeans and handbags and watches. Enough with the materialism. They should learn early not to value such things so highly.

Re:Babies are the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992081)

Sorry about the troll mod, was modding another comment and somehow the parent got marked troll too.

Re:Babies are the problem (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992275)

If you were really sorry, you would not post anonymously ;)

Re:Babies are the problem (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992299)

No problem. I forgive you. I really wanted to talk about that fugly dog the Obamas are getting for their kids. You couldn't find an uglier dog even twirling around a stake in a Cambodian fire pit.

Parents choose their baby's name (3, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26991931)

Although there certainly is a lot of "fashion" and "tradition" in choosing names, it's hardly the nightmare of uniformity that is predicted by those who oppose genetic choice. Sometimes it might appear that everyone is named Steve, but alas, it is not so.

Re:Parents choose their baby's name (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992025)

Although there certainly is a lot of "fashion" and "tradition" in choosing names, it's hardly the nightmare of uniformity that is predicted by those who oppose genetic choice. Sometimes it might appear that everyone is named Steve, but alas, it is not so.

Nice straw man you got there.

The truth is that names hardly matter that much compared to your child's physiology and anatomy. In some countries, it's not uncommon for parents to kill girls that are born to them because they cannot carry on the family name, so to speak.

 

Re:Parents choose their baby's name (0, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992069)

Nice straw man you got there.

Go on.

The truth is that names hardly matter that much

Oh Really?

In some countries, it's not uncommon for parents to kill girls that are born to them because they cannot carry on the family name

Shit, that kinda sounds like names are really important.

This has to be Slashdot at it's finest.

Re:Parents choose their baby's name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992183)

Shit, that kinda sounds like names are really important.

This has to be Slashdot at it's finest.

He means giving birth, not being named different. Slashdot idiocy at its finest.

Re:Parents choose their baby's name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992309)

This has to be Slashdot at it's finest.

I'd say a poster who takes immediate offense to criticism and responds with sarcasm is a better example.

Re:Parents choose their baby's name (4, Funny)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992287)

Name your daughter "prostitute", and let me know how she fairs elementary and jr. high.

Names most definitely CAN play a VERY important role in a child's life.

Re:Parents choose their baby's name (5, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992349)

I'm betting she'd be very popular.

So then you argue in favor (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992453)

Ahh, the psudo-intellectual term for calling someone a dummy.

The truth is that names hardly matter that much compared to your child's physiology and anatomy. In some countries, it's not uncommon for parents to kill girls that are born to them because they cannot carry on the family name, so to speak.

So by allowing customization of things like gender, you are literally preventing murder. Win/Win.

Re:Parents choose their baby's name (1)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992487)

I think the more interesting usages will be when military dictatorships use it to help guarantee enough men for the army. You can actually start fashioning humans for specific jobs rather than searching for them. Maybe create a government quota. We should name all of the military babies "Kaaaaahn!!!!"

Re:Parents choose their baby's name (5, Insightful)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992391)

The problem with "genetic choice" is that we haven't been around long enough to know the purpose of all of our traits. If enough people were to, for example, not pass on the sicle cell trait who's to say that humanity won't be wiped out by a malaria epidemic? Of course, that's an outlandish scenario, but it's meant to raise a point not prove one. We just don't know why humanity comes in all of our different variations. It's a dangerous game to start removing traits artificially.

LK

Re:Parents choose their baby's name (1)

spicate (667270) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992463)

not only for diseases and gender, but also for completely benign characteristics such as eye color, hair color, and complexion

Frankly, in this country, those are inconsequential choice.

The day they start to screen for intelligence, or even athletic ability, it becomes a threat to the ideals that (I believe) this country was founded on. The world has enough inequality without the creation of a master race.

Luckily, I think intelligence is a little trickier to identify than the traits they've cited.

"Officially here"? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26991965)

I like how the summary says that the "designer baby" era is here despite the fact that, hey, we can't actually customize babies yet.

Re:"Officially here"? (1)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992467)

No but you can produce a few dozen embryos and pick the one you like. So yes as long as you can screen for it, you can get it.

This too was foreseen (2, Interesting)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#26991975)

I remember people predicting this, mostly the fundies. They were laughed at. The gist of the flameage was "That won't ever happen, you guys need to STFU and let us scientists get on with the science."

Ok, now it's happened. And as a society we lack the moral fiber to even say it is a bad idea. Forget making an actual judgemental moral decision and declaring it "immoral" or "wrong". We can't even agree it is a bad idea and will almost certainly have bad consequences.

We are so doomed.

Re:This too was foreseen (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992019)

Who gives a shit what you or "society" thinks. I think it is retarded to allow people to call their children "Apple" or "Montana" but, thankfully, I don't have the right to control other people's choices. Freedom means putting up with shit you don't like.

Re:This too was foreseen (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992135)

Freedom means putting up with shit you don't like.

Within reason. I don't have to put up with being raped. Society as a whole doesn't have to put up with embryos being aborted over hair/eye color if it deems it to be immoral. You really think this is going to fly?

Re:This too was foreseen (5, Insightful)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992207)

Within reason. I don't have to put up with being raped. Society as a whole doesn't have to put up with embryos being aborted over hair/eye color if it deems it to be immoral. You really think this is going to fly?
Why not? We allow abortions based on sex. And you clearly don't understand the technology here. It's not embryos being aborted, it's embryos not being implanted, much like current IVF technology that already exists.

Re:This too was foreseen (1, Troll)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992409)

It's not embryos being aborted, it's embryos not being implanted

And how is that any different?

Re:This too was foreseen (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992429)

Except they aren't society's embryos, they belong to a human and that human can decide what to do with them.

Good grief. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992435)

These embryos aren't being aborted. These are being created outside the body, then being genetically tested, then implanted if they have the traits the parents are looking for. The ones that don't have the traits the parents are looking for may be dumped. You may claim society won't put up with it. Well, fine, except that society already does. Fertility clinics already create about a dozen embryos for every child born. The rest of the embryos are usually frozen and eventually disposed of. Because "designer babies" are something that gets people stirred up, it's suddenly a huge problem (just like with stem cells, "Oh shock and horror, they can't be used for MEDICAL RESEARCH! Flush them down the sink where they belong!")

Re:This too was foreseen (1, Flamebait)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992297)

> Freedom means putting up with shit you don't like.

You MIGHT be a hard core Libertarian and none of your recent posts brings that out well... but you are probably either a lying bastard or self deluded. Odds are you are perfectly willing to 'put up with' things you agree with or don't care about' but quite willing to invoke the power of social sanction or outright government force to enforce things YOU care about on others.

Or are you for allowing school choice... even when it means fundies can skip teaching evolution and condoms?

Or are you against using the power of the State to seize the resources of the successful to give to those who couldn't give enough of a shit to get an education? And just tell em to get a job (and that getting married before having the litter of sprogs is a good idea) and thus take care of themselves and their own without suckling the government's teat?

And you are of course against crap like the Fairness Doctrine, right?

And are you against all gun control. at least anything less than crew served weapons or WMD, right?

Hate Speech? That doesn't exist in your "Freedom is flying yer freak flag" world, right?

And so on and so on. Hope you get my point by now. Just because YOU don't care one way or the other about designer babies doesn't mean as a society we might not need to make a decision that this is such a bad idea we just might want to at least go on the record that this is a BAD IDEA and perhaps discourage it a little? Is bringing up the subject of societal disapproval too much for the everything is grey moral relativists? Once we get that much moral clarity we can consider the question of opening up the bigger can of worms as to whether we can or should regulate it legally.

Re:This too was foreseen (4, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992317)

Freedom means putting up with shit you don't like.

Freedom to choose, without taking into account the generational implications, may mean stuff we ALL don't like. We just don't know it yet. And by the time we do know it, it may be too late.
Let's take China's (old) policy of 1 child per family. Leads to a glut of boy children. We have no idea what implications that may bring in the next decade or 3. May lead to nothing, may lead to a world war.

'Freedom' is one thing...stupid, selfish, misguided 'choices' that affect us all is quite another.

hmmm....sounds like the climate change vs the anti climate change argument.
Fuck you, I'm gonna build a coal plant and drive my Hummer. "freedom means putting up with shit you don't like"

Re:This too was foreseen (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992441)

> I'm gonna build a coal plant and drive my Hummer.

Oh I am so totally going to remember that one. Love it!

Re:This too was foreseen (4, Insightful)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992331)

Who gives a shit what you or "society" thinks. I think it is retarded to allow people to call their children "Apple" or "Montana" but, thankfully, I don't have the right to control other people's choices. Freedom means putting up with shit you don't like.

There are limitations to freedom when it comes to other people. And babies are people. Even if it's your own child, you can't do anything you want to them. If you suddenly decided that your little girl would look nice in earings, fine, not many people will care if you get her ears pierced. If you suddenly decide that she would look better without ears, then you have a problem. The law doesn't allow for you to just go and cut them off.

We're headed down a very tricky road here. These "designer baby" choices would be made before conception, but the consequences would last the life of the child, so we have some big issues to debate, not to mention those minor questions of when human life deserves protection and to what degree we should "play God".

Re:This too was foreseen (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992395)

Go rent the movie Gattaca and you too will understand just how *evil* genetic fascism can be.

Think of a world where you have a non-violent civilized society of Nazis.

Re:This too was foreseen (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992087)

Ok, now it's happened. And as a society we lack the moral fiber to even say it is a bad idea. Forget making an actual judgemental moral decision and declaring it "immoral" or "wrong". We can't even agree it is a bad idea and will almost certainly have bad consequences.

I find it odd that you're not only assuming it is wrong and bad, but you're saying questioning it at all is a sign that we're doomed. NOT questioning imposed morality and superstition is what will doom us (see the dark ages and crusades, and in fact most wars for proof.)

I wouldn't take it as a given that their nightmare scenario will be all or nothing. We allowed abortion, we are now apperantly allowing this... I'm missing the links to generic big bad thing. Who says anything bad will come out of it? Besides you and them, that is.

This isn't designer babies anyway. The fundies are still wrong.

Re:This too was foreseen (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992113)

...is a bad idea and will almost certainly have bad consequences

No way. We can breed the "dumb nigger" gene out of black babies and other undesireables and become a race of handsome, sexy Aryans without having to gas six-million Jews!!!1!

Re:This too was foreseen (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992119)

shut the fuck up bible thumper. go jam your morality up your ass. if we want a race of perfect humans we will get it. christians like you can't stop it.

Re:This too was foreseen (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992151)

I don't know who you were talking to, but I don't know any legitimate scientist in biology who didn't think this was going to happen by 2015.

What people said was that for traits that people are most interested in doing this for - most commonly intelligence, attractiveness, and physical ability - it's basically impossible at this point (and will likely remain so for a decent while, considering how many loci people are finding in genome-wide screens). However, eye color and skin color are pretty straightforward, and it's silly to think that when it became technologically possible to perform genetic tests on early embryos (which was something that absolutely had to be developed, as it's basically the only way to avoid any number of horrific genetic diseases) that it wouldn't be used for these purposes as well.

The bigger issue is, who cares? Eye color and hair color are completely superficial traits that mean nothing, and skin color (as evidenced by black males leading both major political parties) isn't anywhere near the issue it was 20 years ago. Sex choice is actually a bigger issue for non-American cultures, as you can wind up with the China situation of a very unbalanced population, but in developed countries (that would have the money to afford this kind of screening) I don't see the value of having a boy or a girl being dramatically different.

Re:This too was foreseen (4, Insightful)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992153)

You should elaborate as to why you think this is a bad idea.

Personally I think it's a good idea. Being able to screen for genes that cause cystic fibrosis, Huntington disease, Alzheimer disease, trisomy 13/18/21, etc. would allow no one to suffer from such diseases anymore either through picking different embryos or repairing the diseased gene.

It's certainly better than the crap-shoot that we have now for procreation.

Re:This too was foreseen (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992237)

Reducing the gene pool is bad for the longevity of the species. As the gene pool becomes more homogeneous the risk of a species exterminating disease increases, since the likelihood of a genetic mutation which can resist the new disease is diminished.

Add in the fact that we know startlingly little about how genes really operate and you have the possibility of some serious unknown consequences.

Re:This too was foreseen (4, Insightful)

neoform (551705) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992167)

Wait, making sure your kids have no future ailments or life threatening conditions/diseases is a.. bad> thing?

Sorry, but I'm 100% in favor of non-cosmetic Eugenics. Maybe you'd feel the same if you knew someone with cancer, diabetes or countless other horrible conditions.

Re:This too was foreseen (1, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992427)

Sorry, but I'm 100% in favor of non-cosmetic Eugenics.

This is NOT FUCKING EUGENICS. Eugenics is a horrifically offensive behavior and this is NOT IT. Eugenics is when I tell you that dark skinned people cannot have babies with light skinned people. Eugenics is when the German government told people that Jews could not have children with non-Jews.

It is "the science of improving a breed or species through the careful selection of parents." In this case, the parents have already decided to have a child. Most likely, and preferentially, their decision was not based on a Eugenic agenda in their society. Quite simply, Eugenics occurs long before this company ever gets involved.

I don't have a problem screening for diseases before a baby is even born. That is just merciful in my book to both the child and the parents. I am not a Christian, or believe in any God. So I don't buy into the argument that it goes against God somehow and therefore all procreation must be natural, since natural is God approved. As if they even know what God approves of from a book that is admittedly written by men.

What this company does it closer to abortion. Please don't use the word "eugenics" since the only accepted definition of the word references a truly abhorrent behavior that should never be approved of, which is what you have done through your ignorance of the word.

Re:This too was foreseen (3, Insightful)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992201)

People are not defined by their physical characteristics. Let the parents choose things like this. It may affect WHAT their child becomes but it won't affect WHO they become.

Re:This too was foreseen (3, Insightful)

Matteo522 (996602) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992387)

Are you sure people aren't defined [askmen.com] by [steveklotz.com] their [allamericanpatriots.com] physical [maxsquared.org] characteristics [photosfan.com] ?

Re:This too was foreseen (1)

soren202 (1477905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992257)

And as a society we lack the moral fiber to even say it is a bad idea. Forget making an actual judgemental moral decision and declaring it "immoral" or "wrong". We can't even agree it is a bad idea and will almost certainly have bad consequences.

We are so doomed.

First, this is hardly the genetic tailoring that was predicted by the fundies and the alarmists. Rather than making babies that wouldn't exist otherwise, we're simply hand picking the sperm that goes into the egg. It's messing with nature, but this is still much more ethical than editing genes by hand.

Although,even if it was, you really shouldn't egg on the people who are actually worried about stuff like this. We don't need any more bitching from the reactionary end of the spectrum. Fact is, this will happen as long as we have the technology to do it, and, as long as it's not a social stigma to be born the natural way, it's really not an issue.

Re:This too was foreseen (1)

bh_doc (930270) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992307)

I find it surprising the suggestion that anyone said this (designer babies) would never happen. They must not have had much imagination.

Others have already pointed out your unjustified assumption that this is actually a bad thing. There's also the point that, because individuals within society profess differing opinions (in particular, differing to yours), somehow society is "so doomed", is a pretty silly non sequitur.

Re:This too was foreseen (3, Insightful)

orielbean (936271) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992327)

Much like gay marriage, how does this hurt fundies? Oh, they are looking out for us poor technocratic souls? Moral fiber? We have developed science to save babies that would otherwise die, mothers that would otherwise die, and help children exist with significant defects that would have had them killed by the midwife only a hundred years ago. Moral fiber? Bad idea? I would be thrilled to know that my child could be born without my congential heart defect or a cleft palate! Shame on you for swallowing their reactionary tripe.

Re:This too was foreseen (2, Insightful)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992355)

I don't know, it sounds like a good idea to me. We can start with simple things like eye and hair color, and hopefully move on to eliminating the genetics that cause obesity, stupidity, and depression.

One gene != one characteristic (4, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26991991)

Just as we've found that the ecosphere is an uncontrollably complex system that defies simple cause/effect manipulation, we will learn the hard way that simply "inserting" a gene for blue eyes or increased hemoglobin production causes unexpected and undesirable spinoff effects.

Re:One gene != one characteristic (4, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992059)

They're not "inserting" a gene. They're screening out "candidate" babies that don't have it.

I.e. there are lots of embryos, they pick the one that randomly got the characteristics they want and throw out the rest.

However, there can still be unintended consequences. If people do this a lot and tend to make the same choices, the genetic diversity of the human race will be reduced, leading to greater susceptibility to widespread disease and genetic problems in the generations to come.

Re:One gene != one characteristic (1)

The Clockwork Troll (655321) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992117)

160IQ GET

Re:One gene != one characteristic (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992227)

If people do this a lot and tend to make the same choices, the genetic diversity of the human race will be reduced, leading to greater susceptibility to widespread disease and genetic problems in the generations to come.

They're not choosing on the vast majority of the genes in the human genome. Your hair color, for example, doesn't really confer any selective advantage when it comes to resitance to infectious disease. Diversity, even among those superficial genes, also probably won't be lost. A lot of the genes people want to select for are already rare, if this catches on I'd expect red-headedness to increase dramatically (its at something like 1% right now). And there's going to be some auto-balancing anyway: if everyone wants to have blue-eyed blond-haired children you know what's going to suddenly be a lot more attractive to that generation? Brown eyes and brown hair. And they'll select that in their children.

Sky: still not falling.

Re:One gene != one characteristic (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992385)

Right now it's just superficial appearance they're interested in, but over time it could be a lot more.

In a few hundred years, it's forseeable that parents will want children with "proven" sets of genes for an athletic child with long lifespan, high intelligence.

Since other sets of genes are less proven, they'll be less desired, resulting in convergence, and eventually a small number of sets of genes is a possibility.

I'm sure before it's said and done there'll be some belief that people with certain appearance genes have longer lifespan. The pendulum may swing one way or the other for a few dozen generations, but eventually pendulums settle on a central point.

Re:One gene != one characteristic (1)

Chep (25806) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992405)

<quote>leading to greater susceptibility to widespread disease and genetic problems in the generations to come. </quote>

not sure increasing the odds of humanity to decimation (or worse) is actually a <i>very bad</i> thing, from the general ecosystem's point of view...

(of course, as individuals we would certainly disagree with "someone" intentionally spreading something that kills half of our loved ones, but we might have gone a bit too far already on the "conquer and submit" part...

Re:One gene != one characteristic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992315)

One gene to rule them all?

Re:One gene != one characteristic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992377)

RTFA. They're not 'inserting genes', they're selecting from one of the possible genetic combinations the parents can already generate.

Thus, a couple with a 1:4 chance of having a child with X trait can have that outcome every time. But a couple without the chance of having X trait still can't have it...

Yet.

What's the big deal? (1)

cpicon92 (1157705) | more than 5 years ago | (#26991999)

This doesn't seem much more controversial than an abortion. (which, depending on the country, could be considered controversial) How is this unethical? Unless I'm misunderstanding, all it involves is checking ahead of time what your baby's gonna look like.

Re:What's the big deal? (2, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992029)

Good point, this is in no way -designer- babies, there's no design, just rejection of the ones you don't like.

When we start being able to specify that our kids have wings or eye lasers, THAT's when things get awesome/scary.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992053)

If abortions are considered controversial, this increases the odds of an abortion, and could be seen as controversial.

Re:What's the big deal? (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992091)

This doesn't seem much more controversial than an abortion. (which, depending on the country, could be considered controversial) How is this unethical?

I consider myself a pretty die-hard pro-choicer but I'm extremely disturbed by the notion of aborting your embryo because it doesn't have the eye color you wanted.........

Re:What's the big deal? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992239)

>I consider myself a pretty die-hard pro-choicer but I'm extremely disturbed by the notion of aborting your embryo because it doesn't have the eye color you wanted.........

This makes you a hypocritical bastard.

Either there is nothing wrong with it, or there is something wrong with it.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

ChinggisK (1133009) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992345)

I consider myself a pretty die-hard pro-choicer but I'm extremely disturbed by the notion of aborting your embryo because it doesn't have the eye color you wanted.........

This.

I'm pretty pro-life myself but I can at least understand arguments about medical issues or being too poor to care for a child or freedom of choice or whatever, even if I don't agree with them. But because it isn't going to be blonde? Wtf?

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

pythonax (769925) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992249)

The controversial part is the fact that soon we will have the ability to change the features instead of just see what they are, and they have said that they will offer these options as soon as they become available.

attitude? (2, Funny)

Libertarian001 (453712) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992001)

Think maybe they could design one without the attitude?

Designer Babies (1)

Leafheart (1120885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992003)

I prefer Valentino, always. His reds are magnificent. Although the occasional Coco Channel or Yves Saint Laurent's black with high puffy white collars baby, is certainly fashion.

</bad joke>

Yeah for science (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992007)

So in other words its now possible to make niggers extinct?

Gattaca is a fantastic movie (0, Troll)

teknopurge (199509) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992011)

One of my top 10 favorites of all time; it still holds up.

Download it now and get a glimpse of what we are getting ourselves in to.

Re:Gattaca is a fantastic movie (1)

Xistenz99 (1395377) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992225)

Download it now and get a glimpse of what we are getting ourselves in to. Your IP address is being sent to MPAA headquarters and you will have all of those free moving pictures confiscated. Your children will be imprinted with a RIAA-MPAA trait that will not allow them to send or receive any illegal files without terminations End of Line

Re:Gattaca is a fantastic movie (1)

bh_doc (930270) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992365)

Surely you mean "go rent it" or perhaps "buy it from your local store".

Billion Dollar Baby (3, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992037)

I want mine to look like Alice

Re:Billion Dollar Baby (1)

chill (34294) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992205)

Alice, as in from the late-1970s sitcom [wikipedia.org] ?

You need to aim a little higher in your standards.

Let evolution reign (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992041)

"Evolution treats artificial selection as a defect and routes around it"

I'm guessing that it will turn out that blond hair, blue eyes and being cute goes hand in hand with some fatal evolutionary defect and that in 1000 years customer's bloodlines will be extinct.

Just look at the genetic shape that some "pure" breeds of dogs are in. They would never survive in the wild.

Re:Let evolution reign (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992473)

Show animals are generally not bread to increase their health. Furthermore, 'surviving in the wild' is as much or more behavioral as it is physical. If you dropped stock brokers in the middle of the Amazon most of them would die because they wouldn't know what to do, not because they were physically incapable of doing it. Animals that grow up in captivity don't have a behavioral model to follow, and instinct usually is not enough to overcome that lack, which is why those animals are rarely released.

It's far too simplistic to say 'all artificial selection categorically fails' especially given that the science behind it is improving. Early artificial selection wasn't based on anything but 'I like X better than Y' with no insight even possible to the broader genetic issues. Fatal defects like you speak of are more likely to be caught in active and productive research than they are in natural selection. Natural selection is great, but considering we're the first life on this planet to be able to understand a genome even a little, I think we should probably pursue it a little further eh?

There's no stopping this (2, Insightful)

tsa (15680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992043)

Even if it may be inhuman, unethical or whatever, people will want this. It's a new step in human evolution. There is a plus on the ethical side of this: many genetic diseases can hopefully be prevented.

Re:There's no stopping this (3, Interesting)

elashish14 (1302231) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992203)

Remember when antibiotics were developed and they were hailed as the great solution for bacterial infections? Now look what has happened - yes, we've solved some problems (many, even), but we've made others much worse.

So let's take a minute to think of the can of worms that we're opening. 1.) How are we supposed to determine whether something is a disease and whether it should be screened for? 2.) What if there's some genetic/evolutionary advantage to many of the "diseases" we hope to prevent? Obviously, no one wants to stand up and say that there's an advantage to -insert horrible disease here- but it's impossible to predict the future and what may be advantageous. 3.) We're also bound to get idiots that want their kids screened for stupid things like being short or stupid. There's probably a potential danger in this as well, not to mention that it's stupid.

Anyways, as far as treating diseases go, we should be mindful that if we don't want to mess with the gene pool (as many believe that we shouldn't), we should consider non-genetic alternatives to treating problems. Furthermore, we should be excited with the advent of new technology, but we should be very careful in how we employ it (in particular, how much). These aren't necessarily my opinions, but it's important to at least play Devil's Advocate.

Re:There's no stopping this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992313)

3.) We're also bound to get idiots that want their kids screened for stupid things like being short or stupid.

On the bright side, if intelligence is hereditary all said embryos will fail the selection criteria.

Re:There's no stopping this (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992459)

What if there's some genetic/evolutionary advantage to many of the "diseases" we hope to prevent?

What are the odds that some horrible genetic condition like, oh, sickle cell could, say, give immunity to malaria for example?

Life savings? (5, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992049)

as couples from across the globe are flocking in droves to pay the company their life's savings for a custom baby

It saddens me to think that so many people are that shallow. It no longer surprises me that people would risk their financial stability to have a baby with a particular hair color. But it does still depress me.

Re:Life savings? (3, Insightful)

cowlum1 (685203) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992123)

As some earlier posters have pointed out, this is a good opportunity for couples to diagnose and remove genetic diseases. Many families have known genetic ailments they would like eradicated.

Hair colour and eye colour are often advantages/disadvantages in life. Shallow or not im sure most parents will simply do whats best for baby.

Re:Life savings? (1)

elashish14 (1302231) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992243)

I hate to break it to you harshly, but other people don't have the same values as you. I definitely share your viewpoint - a child should be loved regardless of how s/he is made genetically - but obviously I'm aware that most others have far different wishes and opinions.

I guess I've just become far too cynical. It doesn't take long to figure out why.

Re:Life savings? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992491)

They arn't paying for a specific hair color, they're paying to make sure it doesn't turn out like you.

Funded by Woody Allen? (1)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992065)

Why go out and hunt for a chick when you can just roll your own? LOL

Or money back (1, Informative)

igny (716218) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992077)

I remember a story about someone who used a certain modern "scientific" technique to provide a guarantee of baby's gender. If he was wrong he promised the money back. Of course he got to keep the money in about 50% of the time.

China and India (5, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992095)

They'll have a huge market in China and perhaps India. China has that history of euthanizing baby girls, so why waste the nine months if you can't get exactly what you want?

Sorry, but this really freaks me. Now we're making a true commodity out of babies. In a way that actually cheapens them; they'll become mass-market items akin to cellphones, when we can pick and choose exactly what color, what "skin", we want them to have, what shape and size, what sort of CPU and accessories.

Can you hear Darwin howling?

women will cry... (1)

quickpick (1021471) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992099)

When men say they want all their sons to have epic wangs.

Re:women will cry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992165)

Then they'll have to engineer looser women... or shift the culture to like 40 year olds while the teenagers with small dicks fuck the younger ones until their loose enough for the Epic wangs of the 30 year old guys.

a curious choice of words (1)

FranklinWebber (1307427) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992143)

"...not only for diseases and gender, but also for completely benign characteristics such as eye color..."

In what sense is gender not a benign characteristic?

Where's the beef? (1)

thethibs (882667) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992147)

With all the sturm und drang at the start of TFA, I expected an enumeration of the hinted-at "perils" of genetic selection. I was wondering how far they would need to stretch the fabric of the universe to find some.

Before someone else brings them up, let me say it: Eugenics Wars. We all know that science fiction comes true. We don't know much about the Eugenics Wars, but we know they will be awful and that they will be the result of genetic manipulation. So be afraid, be very afraid.

How is the worse than fetal stem cell research? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992161)

At least these particular cells get to live to become people (and attractive, Jude Law types, no less). I wonder which side those who thought Bush was pushing some moral agenda on embyotic cells (when in reality he formed a bi-partisan commission to study the long term consequences of it, like, you know, this) will come down on om this issue?

Suddenly there are ethical issues when playing with fetal cells? So is destroying potential life for the benefit of others okay, but improving it for the benefit of that life itself not okay? Sounds arrogant and officious to me. The State will decide that all your cells belong to us? Scary.

Posted anon, regrettably, because some people don't know or don't care how they are supposed to use mod points. But I assure you I do not mean this as a troll. I am genuinely interested in intellectually honest responses.

A designer baby to go with your designer jeans (1)

shake_zuuuula (1459287) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992181)

I know, it's not that kind of designer. Though I suppose it's feasible to think that we might one day have this sort of thing; fashion labels designing and selling super cool babies. I'd quite like a Versace son.

I want to breed my own fuck toys (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992185)

Docile, big tittied blond, brunette and redhead. High sexual proclivity low IQ and fast maturing.

GATTACA (-1, Redundant)

Trebawa (1461025) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992189)

Anyone here ever seen GATTACA?

Low-Tech Alternative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992209)

Adopt the child of your choice.

My genes are shit. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992229)

One of my younger brothers has severe autism. My other brother and our sister wear dentures. We all wear glasses. My parents wear glasses. My father's side of the family is all alcoholics, except for my grandfather, who is dead of a heart attack in his late 40s. My grandmother has had a triple bypass for her heart attack. On my mother's side of the family, my grandmother has survived breast cancer, and my grandfather is deep in Alzheimer's.

To hell with the crapshoot that is conception. I've long since decided that any kids I raise will be adopted. Then again, maybe this sort of technology will get cheap enough for me to pass on whatever portion of my genetic code that isn't crap.

All you "moral guardian" types are still stuck up on the crazy idea that condoms promote evil, bad sex, and think that the AIDS pandemic deserves nothing more than a crate of bibles shipped to Africa every few months. You haven't got a leg to stand on. Don't tell me the proper way to pass on genetic information.

Screening is not designing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992231)

They'll tell you what characteristics an embryo will have, but that's not the same as letting you choose. Sure, a couple could burn embryos until they happen to get one that meets their requirements, but few couples are so fertile that they could do that.

This is not the moral dilemma people think it is.

WHat?!? (1)

certain death (947081) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992233)

I always thought it was rather fun, kinda like eating cracker jacks, you always get a little surprise when it pops out! They want to take all the fun out of having kids!

infanticide - 21st century style (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992277)

People in some countries committed (and in some places probably still do) female infanticide but oleander seeds and juice are obsolete technologies evidently.

Meh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992279)

So people go and spend their life savings selecting the most trendy babies. Then the babies grow up so poor they can't afford the health care for the diseases that only they are susceptible to, because the "fashionable" gene pool is puddle deep. They die off, leaving the world to the rest of us.

Sounds self-selecting to me.

Too much FUD (1)

SinGunner (911891) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992301)

I didn't RTFA, but the link says it clearly enough. These are NOT designer babies. These babies are being SCREENED. They're still YOUR babies. You're not going to get a black kid from two white parents. You're not going to get a blond Asian (unless they already have that disposition in the parents).

gn4a (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992303)

AT&T and BerkelEy

Stop the train, i want to get off... (1)

amn108 (1231606) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992393)

"There is no gene for human spirit." -tagline for "Gattaca".

Recommended in light of this discussion.

And, yes, when I in my fifties will be making love to a rich insanely beautiful smart blue-eyed silk-black-haired goddess in her twenties that has everything but what she can't have (that a bitch aint it), I will be recalling these thoughts I have now.

Too complicated. (1)

iztehsux (1339985) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992417)

Genetics aren't tinker toys that you can just swap out parts for at will. Human DNA is complicated, and I can see a whole group of "Designer Babies" having some freak genome mutation problem 20 years down the road all around the same time, due to an error that hadn't been thought all the way through before all this business started. What a nightmare.

Welcome to the Brave New World (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992445)

Once we have this it won't be long before we have the Alpha Beta Delta Gamma class babies. Pay more for a more to screen out low intelligence etc.

This will lead to the poorer communities being even more trapped in the poverty trap as the rich can genetically select their children to do better at exams etc. Further entrenching the class divide.

Imagine this in the hands of Neo-Nazi-like race supremists. Scary...

Also, I wonder if this might inadvertantly create "ghettos" of relative lack of genetic diversity which could increased susceptability to disease, much like inbreeding.

Fortunately much less of human behaviour is solely about genetics than current populist fashions dictate.

Finally... (1)

spydabyte (1032538) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992481)

I'm glad someone finally took the initiative and thought of themselves for a change. Someone had to do it first, and I bet we're all going to be sorry it wasn't us.

Oh and oldspewey, I think you're thinking of "phenotype" vs. "genotype". Sadly, if you choose a blue-eyed baby, it won't have a higher chance of getting HIV. Genes can be completely separated, The genome isn't as a tangled mess as you make it out to be.
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