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An urgent plea for a broader understanding and awareness of the unconsidered dangers of new genetic technologies Since 2010 it has been possible to determine a person’s genetic makeup in a matter of days at an accessible cost for many millions of people. Along with this technological breakthrough there has emerged a movement to use this information to help prospective parents “eliminate preventable genetic disease.” As the prospect of systematically excluding the appearance of unwanted mutations in our children comes within reach, David B. Goldstein examines the possible consequences from these types of choices. Engaging and accessible, this clarion call for responsible and informed stewardship of the human genome provides an overview of what we do and do not know about human genetics and looks at some of the complex, yet largely unexplored, issues we must be most careful about as we move into an era of increasing numbers of parents exercising direct control over the genomes of their children.
David B. Goldstein is John E. Borne Professor of Genetics and Development and director of the Institute for Genomic Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. He is the author Jacob’s Legacy: A Genetic View of Jewish History.
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