Should we create designer babies?
Human gene editing won’t be science fiction for much longer. We’re taking evolution into our own hands, but should we? If designer babies are on the way in, reproductive sex might be on the way out – and a lot will depend on what we do today. Hear an ethicist, a reproductive genetic counsellor and a biomedical scientist break down the big questions about gene editing: Should we create designer babies? What are the social, political, and ethical minefields? Who regulates it? Who can afford it? And what decisions should we make now to reach a future we really want?
Professor David Amor trained in paediatrics and genetics at the Royal Childrens Hospital before completing a PhD in Chromosome Biology at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute. In 2016 he was appointed to the Galli Chair in Developmental Medicine at the University of Melbourne, prior to which he was Director of Victorian Clinical Genetics Services. His current research focuses on the genetics of intellectual disability, the translation of new genetic technologies into clinical practice and the identification of genes for rare syndromes.
Dr Danya Vears is a postdoctoral research fellow of the Research Foundation, Flanders. After completing her Master of Genetic Counselling and her PhD at the University of Melbourne, she moved to Belgium where she has spent the last 2.5 years exploring ethical aspects relating to the use of new genomic sequencing technologies.
Kunal Kalro is an entrepreneur, designer, technologist and a co-founder at Eugene. He is passionate about addressing the diversity gap in data used in healthcare research and improving access to new healthcare technologies. He firmly believes that if we don't address this lack of representation, we'll worsen existing health disparities and create terrible new ones.
Megan Donnell founded the Sanfilippo Children's Foundation in late 2013. To date over $3m has been invested into 12 medical research projects in to the rare and fatal genetic childhood disease, Sanfilippo Syndrome including a pioneering gene therapy treatment that is currently in clinical trial here in Australia. Megan is inspired every day by her children, Isla and Jude, who both suffer from the condition.
Zoe Milgrom is a genetic counsellor and co-founder of Eugene. She has over 10 years of clinical experience, both in the public and private health systems. Zoe is committed to providing ethical and clinically relevant genetic testing in a supported environment and use technology to improve genetic literacy and understanding for all members of the community.