The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.
Human germline engineering (HGE) may be technologically feasible, economically viable and socially acceptable in the not-too-distant future. If HGE does begin to flower, it will change humanity and human society in ways that are currently only poorly imagined. And humanity, or at least those of its members tasked with formulating public policy, will have to adopt legal solutions to pressing questions that arise.
Four kinds of scientific and technological progress are bringing the revolution on-line. They work in tandem. First, geneticists figure out which genes do what, individually and in combination. Second, neurologists map the human brain and trace its functions. Third, programmers create computer simulations that predict the effects of juggling genes. Fourth, bioengineers create better tools to cut and paste DNA strands.
All four of those disciplines have been racing ahead, especially in recent years. There is no reason to assume that any of them will run up against insurmountable obstacles. Nor is it obvious that prohibitive costs will block HGE development or restrict its availability to tycoons whose superhuman progeny will rule the rest of us. On the contrary, DNA technology shows every sign of being amenable to the same types of forces that catapulted silicon chip development forward so powerfully. Indeed, society and the law may find it hard to regulate hobbyists creating new forms of life in their basements.
Read full, original post: Human Germline Engineering: the Game-Changer