Our Inevitable Genetic Future
Rather than worry about the ethics of human cloning, Stock (Metaman; The Book of Questions), director of the UCLA School of Medicine's Program of Medicine, Technology and Society, believes we should focus our attention on the idea that we'll soon be able to genetically manipulate embryos to develop desired traits a more immediate and enticing possibility for most parents than cloning.
He gives a lucid overview of the new biotechnology that will allow scientists to delay aging and to insert genes that enhance physical and cognitive performance, combat disease or improve looks into embryos.
Stock thoughtfully weighs the ethical dilemmas such advances present, arguing that the real threat is not frivolous abuse of technology but the fact that we don't know the long-term effects of these genetic changes.
In any case, Stock insists, there's no turning back, and government bans "will determine not whether the technologies will be available, but where, who profits from them, who shapes their development, and which parents have early access to them."
Stock demonstrates that much of the current criticism of human genetic engineering sounds remarkably similar to what was being said about in vitro fertilization when it first appeared. He believes that we will come to accept laboratory conception of all offspring and the addition of artificial chromosomes stocked with designer genes as readily as we have come to accept in vitro fertilization.
Along the way we are sure to have many ethical issues to confront, issues that Stock does an impressive job of outlining.
Redesigning Humans Forget worries about cloning people. In the future, technological advances will bring far more meaningful and controversial changes to our offspring.