Letter: Designer genes

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The prospect of being able to eliminate such distressing genetic conditions as cystic fibrosis and Huntington's chorea is a very welcome development (" `Designer babies' fear in genetic screenings", 16 November).

Not only the screening technique described in your report, but also the much-maligned techniques of genetic engineering, might be used to rid the human race of such afflictions. "Eugenics" is a word that conjures up many thoroughly nasty ideas, but there is no need to go the whole hog and try for "designer babies" (unless the very rich get their way). We should instead aim to allowing every new-born baby (at least, sadly, in countries rich enough to employ such techniques) to look forward to a life in which no opportunities are closed by genetic faults or physical or mental incapacity.

I suffer from myxedema, and would now be, if not dead, at least suffering severe difficulties in my daily life, were it not for modern medicine. Had I the opportunity, being able to eliminate this hereditary condition from my genes would be a step I would gladly take. I would not wish to pass on my genes in their present state.

MARTIN WRAGG

Bristol

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