Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Babies By Design. The Future Of Eugenics.

by Jen (writer), San Fernando Valley, January 09, 2008


The UCLA Center for Society and Genetics will host its Sixth Annual Symposium, “Babies by Design: Redefining Humans?” on Sunday January 27, 2008.

Have you ever thought to yourself “Wouldn’t it be great if I could be the mother of the next pop sensation ala Lynne Spears?” Do you want a child that naturally maintains a svelte size 6 frame while pounding rocky road fudge or can bulk up like the Governator without the use of anabolic steroids? Or maybe you are so in love with the crooning of Frank Sinatra that you want to gaze up into those baby blues every year when your greater than or equal to 6 ft tall son comes home for the holidays?

If so then I invite you to check out the UCLA Center for Society and Genetics Sixth Annual Symposium, “Babies by Design: Redefining Humans?” on Sunday January 27, 2008.

The symposium will cover complex issues such as selection of embryos to ensure that they will avoid devastating genetic diseases, have superior musical or athletic ability, or simply for gender. From the sounds of it might be able to have a son that not only looks like Frank Sinatra…but could actually belt out the classic "Just The Way You Look Tonight" as his little sister and her new husband take to the dance floor for the first time.

In all seriousness though…this is the wave of the future and could be an interesting and informative way to spend a Sunday morning. It certainly sounds interesting to me…but I’ve been called a nerd on more than one occasion so perhaps you’d rather read sleep off your Saturday night intoxications or head down to your local farmers market. All worthy endeavors in my book.

If you do decide to go, the program which begins at 9:30am and concludes at 1:00pm will include the following speakers:

Edward R.B. McCabe, Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Human Genetics, David Geffen School of Medicine, and Bioengineering, Henry Samuel School of Engineering and Applied Science at UCLA will discuss the science of reproductive cloning followed by Lisa Nash who with her husband Jack Nash successfully used the expanding field of genetic screening to have a second child whose cord blood was used to treat a devastating genetic disorder, “Fanconi Anemia”, suffered by their first child.

The legal aspects of emerging reproductive technologies will be discussed by visiting professor at the UCLA School of Law, Judith F. Daar, who has served as a member of the Harbor-UCLA Hospital Institutional Review Board, and the ABA Coordinating Group on Bioethics. Ms. Daar is also the author of numerous articles and recently published a new casebook entitled “Reproductive Technologies and the Law”.

Paul Steven Miller director of the UW Disability Studies Program and Henry M. Jackson Professor of Law at the University of Washington Seattle will present a talk entitled “Respecting Diversity”

Rounding out the afternoon will be a panel discussion on “Redefining Humans” which will feature the event speakers and include questions from the audience.

The event will be held January 27, 2008 from 9:30 am - 1:00 pmat the UCLA Sunset Village Covel Commons Grand Horizon Room. Admission is free and open to the public. A sign language interpreter will be provided for the hearing impaired.

Nearby parking will be available for $8.00.

About the Writer

Jen is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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5 comments on Babies By Design. The Future Of Eugenics.

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By 'Mean' Mike Duffau on January 09, 2008 at 03:46 pm

designer babies? that's just too much! they'll grow up to be designer adults. there's too much of those runnin' around. we can't play GOD! good story kid!

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By Jen on January 09, 2008 at 05:44 pm

Craig-  Eugenics has been practiced in some form or the other since Ancient Greece.  Wether by selective breeding or genocide...humans have sought to rid the world of "undesireable traits" since we started walking upright.  Now that we have the human genome sequenced it can and likely will really take off.  It is already becoming quite common for people to screen sperm for presence of the Y chromosome in order to have a child that is either male or female.  There are pros and cons on both sides and Im not advocating for either one.  But if you're interested in finding out about these concerns go check out the syposium...which was the point of the story. 

Mean Mike-  If I ever have children...I will likely do it the old fashioned way and take my chances.  While it would probably not be a bad idea to...say...screen out embryos likely to develop Fanconi Anemia I would hate to live in a world without diversity.  Designer!  Thanks for the comment.

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By Steven Lane on January 10, 2008 at 12:20 am

Hitler tried it, didn't work. Closest he got was extermination as a method of designing a human.

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By Jen on January 10, 2008 at 09:35 am

I may just attend this shindig to observe you giving Edward R.B. McCabe, Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Human Genetics, David Geffen School of Medicine a piece of your mind during Q & A.

It took about .25 milliseconds after the check cleared for Geffens name to be plastered all over the Medical School.  Gross.

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By Jen on January 13, 2008 at 06:02 pm

MB-  All good questions.  Im working as a Teaching Assistant for a bioethics course this quarter...leading the discussion section.  Eugenics is one of the topics slated for debate.  Should be interesting to see what the "kids" come up with.  If you are really interested in this subject, Aldous Huxley touched on many of these fears in "Brave New World" of my favorite novels.  Paints a grim picture.  If you haven't read it and are interested in this sort of thing than I highly recommend it.  Its a good read.

Thanks for reading and commenting :)

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