Back Door Eugenics

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Top Tier Gear USA

Two articles caught my eye this week. The first article suggested that genetic screening of the characters of foetuses to create  “ethically better children” should become the norm. The second was about synthetically created DNA being used to store data.

In the first article published in The Telegraph (UK) the editor-in chief of the Journal of Medical Ethics, Professor Julian Savulescu said that he sees creating babies who have been screened to remove certain characteristics is just an extension of the current screening that is done for diseases such as cystic fibrosis and Trisomy 21 (Downs syndrome) He states that:

“rational design is just a natural extension of this”


“Whether we like it or not the future of humanity is in our hands now. Rather than fearing genetics we should embrace it. We can do better than chance”

Oh really? Where does parenting come into this? What about substance abuse, peer pressure, bumps on the head, reactions to medications and the myriad of other things that can cause issues that could be referred to as undesirable personality traits? carried an excellent article on the subject earlier this week, good reading if you want to know more.

The second article, put out by BBC online news concerned the ability of DNA being the perfect medium for digital storage. Research teams have found that its possible to store huge amounts of information in DNA “for thousands of years”

Dr Ewan Birney from the European Bioinformatics Institute near Cambridge UK said during the interview:

“One of the great properties of DNA is that you don’t need any electricity to store it, if you keep it cold and dark DNA lasts for a very long time. We know that because we routinely sequence woolly mammoth DNA that is kept by chance in those sorts of conditions”

The article goes on to explain backwards compatibility and the binary system used being different to that understood by the DNA of life. It explains that the created DNA would just degrade if it “accidentally” got into a living person.

So, why am I talking about two different articles at the same time?

Well, with people like Professor Savulescu playing God and suggesting that parents design their children’s character and personality, and another group suggesting that DNA can be used to store data, how long before will it be before someone in a lab somewhere decides to adapt and manipulate the DNA of life so that it can be used to store data? This would enable it to be implanted into fetuses giving them the DNA that will make them anything you wanted them to be. Servile? Or warrior like? Or just turning people selected before birth into rocket scientists or piano virtuosos?

Combining ideas such as these will end up leading us down a very dark and shadowy path. There is little doubt that at some point the likes of Savulescu will infect up and coming young scientists with his eugenic version of genetics. There are people in every generation that think it’s their right to play God and decide who walks the Earth.

One rogue geneticist with a lab and a grant could quite easily work on the splicing of these ideas, one government employed geneticist with funding could make it a reality.

Take Care

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Contributed by Lizzie Bennett of Underground Medic.

Lizzie Bennett retired from her job as a senior operating department practitioner in the UK earlier this year. Her field was trauma and accident and emergency and she has served on major catastrophe teams around the UK. Lizzie publishes Underground Medic on the topic of preparedness.

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