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Designer Children on the Horizon

Have you always wanted a blond, blue-eyed child? Well, now you can get one, without leaving your child's characteristics up to the vagaries of genetic chance. Well, almost. But enough to be scary.Reports the Wall Street Journal: A clinic in Los Angeles, the Fertility Institute, is now advertising that they can give you a good chance-but not guarantee-that your child will have the physical characteristics you want, from eye color, to hair color, to skin hue (but not color; this part only works on white people, as scientists have yet to find the genetic markers for skin pigmentation in non-white genes). How does it work? Here's a helpful infographic:

This obviously brings up a host of issues. How many steps is it from this to eliminating anyone with any genetic material we find undesirable? Is a race of ├╝bermensches really a good idea? (I believe someone tried that before, to pretty disastrous effect.) What happens to our genetic diversity if the majority of babies born have the same characteristics? Luckily, most people seem to have a good handle on the line between helpful and harmful:

"In a recent U.S. survey of 999 people who sought genetic counseling, a majority said they supported prenatal genetic tests for the elimination of certain serious diseases. The survey found that 56% supported using them to counter blindness and 75% for mental retardation.More provocatively, about 10% of respondents said they would want genetic testing for athletic ability, while another 10% voted for improved height. Nearly 13% backed the approach to select for superior intelligence, according to the survey conducted by researchers at the New York University School of Medicine."Would you select characteristics for your baby if you had the chance? What about athletic ability? Does it concern you at all that in every movie where scientists start messing around with these things, the end result is almost always zombies or some other form of massive societal destruction?Photo via

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