Svetlana Tarasova: Children from “catalogue”

This week, British scientists got the right to make further progress while creating “free artificial” children. How long will they be able to use this right, till Osama bin Ladens of the future use gene selection to create numerous battalions of docile self-murderers? This week, Great Britain made an important step into 21st century, when future parents will choose their children, as now they choose goods in catalogues while shopping: hair – blond, eyes – blue, growth – high, sexual orientation – normal, IQ – above average… So, at the moment we cannot do it, or we can? Unambiguously we can state that mankind has stepped the way into an unknown territory full of moral dangers and pregnant with biological catastrophe. As any discovery this way is paved with good intentions… Officially, a human body cannot be used for gene experiments. Though, how should embryos be classified? Human Fertilisation Embryology Authority (HFEA) allowed to scientists to go further in their investigations and to use the possibly created children for help to their mortally ill brothers and sisters. An experiment of the kind was carried out in a US gene selection lab with a seriously ill 7-year old patient Molly Nash. The girl was suffering from a very rare gene illness - Fanconi Anaemia. Her parents designed a baby – Molly’s accurate duplicate – that could be created with embryo selection. Then cells of the Molly’s twin brother were transplanted. This technique will probably tested in the nearest future in the United Kingdom for seriously ill children. Dr Ruth Deech, chairman of the authority, said such actions and creating artificial embryos would be carried out only after attentive consideration of the case, taking into account all the details. Any requests of parents to create a child with programmed qualities (like colour of eyes and hair, growth) will not be considered, and moreover, they will be blocked. This is the official’s position. Though, what will life present to us? There will be of course parents possessing million to realize their dreams about a blond baby, while doctors who want to earn million can be found any time. One thing is obvious: scientific and technological advance cannot be stopped, so 21st century will most likely be a biological century. Hopefully, it will not bring the end of human civilization…

Svetlana Tarasov PRAVDA.Ru London Translated by Vera Solovieva

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