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Genetic Crossroads
September 23rd, 2004

"Inequality, Democracy and the New Human Biotechnologies: A
Threshold Challenge for the 21st Century"

This report summarizes a recent symposium co-sponsored by Demos,
CGS and The Century Foundation, with Marsha Darling, Richard Hayes,
Sheldon Krimsky and Susan Lindee. It includes a full transcript
and background resources.

Nicholas D. Kristof, "Building Better Bodies," The
New York Times
(Aug. 25)

The liberal New York Times columnist confronts the challenge
to humanity posed by human genetic engineering. "My concern
is … with the possibility that we will irreversibly change
what it is to be human. Geneticists have tried to improve apples
over the last 50 years, producing larger, prettier species that
just aren't as tasty or as interesting as they used to be; it would
be a tragedy if we did to humans what we've done to apples….
Perhaps the most important and complex decision in the history of
our species is approaching: in what ways should we improve our genetic
endowment?... [W]e desperately need greater scientific literacy,…especially
genetics, to help us figure out if we want our descendants to belong
to the same species as we do."

Investigative reports: Julie
Robotham and Deborah Smith, "Look who's perfect now,"
Sydney Morning Herald (Aug. 28)

Papps, "Rush for designer babies," The Sunday Mail
(Sept. 5)

Robotham and Smith explore the growing use in Australia of preimplantation
genetic diagnosis, including characteristics that no one justifies
as medical in nature. Papps reports that hundreds of Australian
prospective parents are avoiding that nation's laws by traveling
to the United States for PGD.


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