Tuesday, June 02, 2020


The controversy about the CRISPR baby in China involved making sure a baby had two copies of a gene for HIV-resistance, as only one wasn't worth much. (True for many genes.) Though China has backed off, perhaps for PR reasons, the attitude on the street in China (I am told) was different than would be found in the West.  It was a shrug. Of course you would engineer a baby for improvement if you could.  Why wouldn’t you?

BTW, that scientist has apparently disappeared.  China has different values than us in many ways.

In the West the question is likely to come up in another way.  Adults are going to be willing to undergo procedures to be engineered for a top 50-100 worrisome characteristics with no known downsides to the adjustment.  It may be hard to find a legal basis to prevent that. As the technology is becoming cheap, people will find a guy doing it out of his garage anyway, regardless of what the law says. That will likely break the seal for what we can do about engineering babies.

Prediction: As full-genome sequencing gets ever-cheaper, dating apps will arise that apply filters for and against traits. In the next few years.

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