Sunday, June 8, 2008

brave new world 3: prenatal genetic screening

coincidental or not -the subconscious picks up on more things than one would guess, i believe- one of the current political debates in the netherlands is about prenatal genetic screening.

the fundamentalist christian party christenunie, which is minority part of the cabinet, has blocked a proposal to legalize the prenatal screening of embryos used in IVF w.r.t. the carrying of a specific breast-cancer gene.

this is not a political blog, but the debate shows a lot of what i meant about where humanity is going, when i started the first brave new world post.

of course, getting breast cancer -or any life threatening disease- at a young age (this is what happens often to female carriers of the gene) is a terrible thing. but the real question in this debate is of course where to draw a line with respect to prenatal genetic screening. i believe prenatal genetic screening already occurs with respect to down syndrome (even in vivo; i have to look this up) and possibly other genetic defects. so quite likely part of the debate has already been outdated by current medical practice.

the brave new world perspective that i see taking shape indicates that yes, we will have extensive prenatal genetic screening and even genetic engineering in the future. if i want a girl, then why spend my time money energy on a boy infant? why settle for slowwitted when i can have intelligent? you may think this extreme, but it is the logical continuation of the reasons for which genetic screening already take place.

because, just to give a different type of example, depression is also a serious disease with a strong genetic component. who wants their child to get depression? (or a psychosis? schizophrenia?) why, when it is no longer necessary once we identify the responsible genes?

too bad for art, music etc....i'm certain. because there is a high correlation between artistic creativity and depression, for instance.

please don't think i'm a religious person. there is not one religion which appeals to me, it seems to me that religions are intolerant movements based largely on rules and dogma's instead of spirituality. but i do think it is time this debate is being held.

(and yes, to remain true to this being an art blog, these things also reflect on art and vice versa --> some subsequent post)

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