Writing Your Baby’s Synthetic Genome: Genetic Engineering for the Facebook Generation

Biopolitical Times | March 22, 2012

By Daniel Sharp

In the 1990s, leading personae including Nobel Prize winner James Watson, Princeton University molecular biologist Lee Silver, and UCLA “life science entrepreneur and visionary” Gregory Stock all championed the dream of engineering the perfect human being.

That frightening techno-eugenic vision is now being “upgraded” for the digital generation. The ideological project of genetically “enhanced” post-humans appears to be reemerging – this time with a synthetic biology twist.

Enter Andrew Hessel of Singularity U, for whom genetic engineering and the human genome project are “so 1990.” In a recent article in the Huffington Post, Hessel proposed a radical – and disturbing – idea:

[I]t’s time to consider a new grand challenge for genetics, one that captures the public interest. I can think of none grander than an international effort to write a human genome.

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