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Race, genetics and what else? Prenatal diagnosis

June 23rd, 2007

Osagie K. Obasogie, writing on the Bioethics Forum, discusses the possible impact of efforts to decode the genetics of skin color. He wonders whether the money is there to create prenatal diagnostic tools to allow couples to choose the skin colors they want for their children, and ponders the effect of such a development on social constructions of race. Good questions. Given that racial inequality has historically been based largely on skin hues, how would it feel to live in a society in which the haves could choose their offspring’s color and the have-nots could not?

Says Obasogie:

What’s happening with genetic research into skin color is as much an ethical development as a scientific one.

One Response to “Race, genetics and what else? Prenatal diagnosis”

  1. Jonathan Says:

    I am in favor of a default skin colour of the shade of a latte, more or less, but with the inhabitant of the skin able to lighten or darken it or change colour, as might a chameleon. Thus, skin colour could be a matter of personal preference, and adapted to circumstance. Perhaps this will be a matter of fashion. What about non-traditional colours. Will people choose to become green? All this seems well within the platform of the Human 2.0 currently under research and development, which will make old fashioned humans such as ourselves well obsolete. With a gene from here. A gene from there. Maybe even a little chamaleon gene. Presto – we have it. A new and improved version of, er, us. Ethical development? Maybe. Yes. Whatever.

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