Pre-natal Genetic Engineering

and the Ethics Behind it

Caleb Greufe, Jeremy Baker, Mason Wright, Josh Lohr

Is prenatal genetic engineering ethical?

  • Due to the many problems that could ensue from prenatal genetic engineering, it is not ethical to allow parents to determine the traits of their babies.


Main Points

  1. What is genetic engineering before birth?

  2. What can it do to babies? - super babies

  3. What are the lasting effects? - World changes

  4. What is ethically wrong with this?

What is genetic Engineering?

  • Asks the question of whether or not performance-enhancing substances are considered the same as genetic engineering. (Romano)

  • Uses transfer of DNA and not cells, cloning is the transfer of cells (Cohen)

  • Scientists already know how to select for traits such as gender and even eye color (Moyer)

  • Scientists find the specific gene that codes for a given protein (Begley).

  • Viruses are used to directly modify the DNA of a zygote (Anderson)

  • Since the beginning of time there has been over 1000 generations of change, how many more would there be if we genetically engineered our kids? (Lawton)

Super Babies!

  • Altering traits to make a great athlete is considered wrong (Romano)

  • Genetic engineering could allow parents to select trait such as IQ, athleticism, and beauty (Moyer)

  • It could increase the human lifespan (Anderson)

  • Could be used to get rid of many genetic diseases such as mental illness and it (Moyer)

  • Could change the entire human race to be stronger, smarter, and have longer life spans

  • scientists could seek out genes for any possible trait and change those traits in the future

  • technology is getting better and better in this area and the potential of genetic engineering is becoming greater and greater

World Changes

  • Can cause super germ that would kill everyone(cohen)

  • Eventually, genetic testing and engineering will be fairly inexpensive, but for now the price is extremely high. (Romano)

    • causes greater divide between rich and poor

  • Increase life span could cause overpopulation (Anderson)

  • Overpopulation causes decrease in natural resources and amount of living space

  • In 1990, when the Human Genome Project was announced, the cost of deciphering a person's entire genome was budgeted at $3 billion --about as far from personalized medicine as one can get. But by 2001 the cost was down to $300 million. (Kotler)


  • Fails to recognize personal achievement and personal gifts (Romano)

  • Takes away autonomy and life isn’t thought of as a “gift” anymore. (Romano)

  • Using monkeys/animals to find vaccines or treatments (Begley)

  • Argument over ethics of genetic engineering will be like argument over abortion (Ardell)

  • Can be described as hyper parenting, or having too much to do with the raising of the adult’s children (Romano)

Works Cited

Anderson Jr., Robert M., and Yevgeniya K. Melnik. "Cybernetics, Genetic Engineering And The Future Of Psychotherapy." Journal Of Interdisciplinary Studies 25.1/2 (2013): 39-53. OmniFile Full Text Select (H.W. Wilson). Web. 16 Nov. 2014.

Ardell, Donald B. "Ethics, Population Trends And Wellness Prospects For The Civilized World Of The Future." Electronic Ardell Wellness Report (E-AWR) 231 (2004): 1-2. Health Source - Consumer Edition. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.

Begley, Sharon. "Brave New Monkey." Newsweek 137.4 (2001): 50-52. OmniFile Full Text Select (H.W. Wilson). Web. 16 Nov. 2014.

Cohen, Daniel. "Chapter 6: Genetic Engineering." Cloning (Revised Edition). 88. n.p.: Lerner Publishing Group, 1996. Health Source - Consumer Edition. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.

Kotler, Steven. "Evolution Full Tilt (Cover Story)." Discover 34.2 (2013): 32. MAS Ultra - School Edition. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.

Lawton, Graham. "What Will We Be Like?." New Scientist 213.2854 (2012): 37. MAS Ultra - School Edition. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.

Moyer, Melinda Wenner. "Infant Possibilities." Popular Science 285.2 (2014): 50-85. Health Source - Consumer Edition. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.

Romano, Carlin. "`Babies by Design: The Ethics of Genetic Choice' and `The Case Against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering': Two polar, persuasive stands on reproductive genetics." Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA) 18 Dec. 2007: Newspaper Source. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.