Around the Institute

Aspen Ideas To Go Podcast: Should We Design Our Babies?

June 18, 2015  • Tricia Johnson, Guest Blogger

The “Aspen Ideas to Go” podcast is a weekly show featuring fascinating speakers who have presented at the Aspen Ideas Festival and other public programs offered by the Aspen Institute — including Aspen Words, the Alma and Joseph Gildenhorn Book Series, and various events around the country. For a curated listening experience subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or listen to each episode on the Aspen Ideas website

The discussion of “designer babies” often revolves around gender or hair color, but as Nita Farahany and Marcy Darnovsky explore, the medical debate is far more complicated. Should we screen embryos for disease? Should we make genetic modifications? These considerations raise ethical concerns and call into question the validity of surrounding research.

The lack of regulation and oversight make this particular biotechnology frightening to some, while the potential for disease eradicating techniques excites others. But how far is too far? What are the major scientific and ethical hurdles to assuage the skeptics? 

Marcy Darnovsky is the executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society

Nita Farahany is a professor of Law and Philosophy and director of the Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy at Duke University. She is a member of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues

Visit our podcast page to listen to past podcasts. 

Tricia Johnson is editorial director of public programs at the Aspen Institute.