The various excerpts that follow contain research findings and journalistic commentary that inform the issues discussed occasionally among a small group of humanists in the Bay Area. We are interested in how man-made places reveal the ways that varying values and norms stemming from changing environmental conditions interact with ( i.e., shape or are shaped by) our genetic heritage.
"As Gov. Schwarzenegger implied, the more outgoing West African personality contribution in Puerto Ricans makes them more extroverted on average that Mexicans, whose Native American contribution inclines them toward solidity and introversion. (Spaniards tend to be fairly extroverted, so mestizos come in a wide range of introversion to extroversion, while mulattos are more consistently extroverted. That may have something to do with why the smaller Caribbean population has made a bigger impact on American popular culture then the very large Mexican-American population -- e.g.., Jennifer Lopez, and American-born Puerto Rica won the role of Selena, the American-born Tex-Mex singer."
"A recent working paper by the President’s Council on Bioethics noted that “as genomic knowledge increases and more genes are identified that correlate with diseases, the applications for preimplantation genetic diagnosis will likely increase greatly,” including for medical conditions such as cancer, mental illness, or asthma, and non-medical traits such as temperament or height. “While currently a small practice,” the Council working paper declares, “PGD is a momentous development. It represents the first fusion of genomics and assisted reproduction—effectively opening the door to the genetic shaping of offspring.”
In one sense, of course, PGD poses no new eugenic dangers. Genetic screening using amniocentesis has allowed parents to test the fitness of potential offspring for years. But PGD is poised to increase this power significantly: It will allow parents to choose the child they want, not simply re…