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Engineering People

GMO Babies; What Have We Done?

By James Donahue

It was only going to be a matter of time before researchers were destined to try genetically modification of children. According to a story in the Daily Mail, at least 30 such babies have been born as a result of experiments in the United States in recent years.

The ultimate idea would be to create "designer children" and manipulate the genetic code so that such children are born free of inherited disorders like diabetes, heart disease or retardation. In other words, science is now capable of creating a master race of humans.

So does that phrase sound vaguely familiar?

It was Adolph Hitler who in the 1930s envisioned a master race of humans who would take over the world. Unfortunately, Hitler perceived the Caucasian Europeans as the chosen people and in his insanity, set his Nazi storm troopers on a mass annihilation of the Jews, Romani, Polish, Soviets, homosexuals and people with disabilities.

If he could have conquered the Middle East and Africa, we suspect Hitler would have set about ridding the world of all dark skinned people. He was forced into an alliance with the Japanese because of a common war by the two armies with the United States and Russia, but the oriental races probably also would have been caught up in the Nazi holocaust had Germany successfully conquered the world.

Where Hitler failed, it appears that genetic physicists have found a route to create an even more perfect human being.

Fifteen babies were born in the past three years during experiments conducted at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science of St. Barnabas in New Jersey. The babies were born to women who had problems conceiving. Extra genes from a female donor were inserted in their eggs before they were fertilized. Consequently, two of the babies were found to contain genes from three parents.

While the genetic tinkering was never designed to go beyond an effort to make the eggs of the women more susceptible to successful fertilization, the implications of the experiments have alarmed world scientists. The concern is that once this boundary has been crossed, nothing will stop further tinkering with the make-up of the human species.

What will stop geneticists from daring to someday soon attempt to create new races of humans that are not only disease free, but physically stronger and more intelligent than the rest of mankind. Thus the ingredients may be in the batch to create the master race dreamed of by Hitler.

While that may sound like a good idea, consider this. Such genetic restructuring of offspring will surely be costly, and only available to the very wealthy. Thus there would be a distinct dividing line or class system put in place. The wealthy would become the smartest, strongest and most powerful humans and they would surely enslave the "common" parcels of humanity.

This kind of division already exists, but the onset of genetic perfecting of the children of some would only serve to intensify the problem.

Professor Jacques Cohen, among the pioneers in fertility research, called the introduction of GMO babies "a further and very worrying step down the wrong road for humanity."

Cohen noted that the women in the experiment were infertile because they had defects in tiny structures in their egg cells called mitochondria. Ironically, the process of forcing the new genetic information into the defective cells, the pregnancies were successful. But will the defective genes still be passed on to the next generation?

Cohen said the science exists to now allow for the cloning of children. He said he has been approached by at least three individuals who wanted to create a cloned child, but he is refusing to do it.

The very concept of humans making cloned copies of themselves is scary to think of. Yet if Cohen says the science exists, what is to stop another more unethical research team from actually doing it?

We have all heard about doppelgangers, or look-alikes that appear in the place of kings or other famous people. But creating cloned copies of the originals seems to be going a little too far. In the case of royalty, who would know the real king from the copy?

What a strange new world we appear to be building for ourselves.