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Play now 28 mins

Designer Babies

28 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 28 April 2010

Could genetic manipulation succeed and enable governments to meddle with designer babies?

It’s not yet possible to select a gene for intelligence, height or athletic prowess - so there are unlikely to be many embryos obtained for "designer baby production lines", argues journalist Andrew Brown.

But outside the lab, thinking about how to "plan" populations hasn't been abandoned altogether.

Some fear that in parts of Africa and South and East Asia - where being female is almost considered a handicap, gene selection technology could be used to alter the gender balance of populations.

What can be done to prevent this? Speaking to leading scientists, demographers, family planners and to parents, Andrew Brown discovers the motivations behind trying to manipulate the science.

He finds out if attempts at manipulation could be successful on a big scale and how far scientists can influence public opinion on the issue.


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