What We Wanted to Do
This is a website meant to imitate a gene-editing company that specialises in babies. It lets you try what it could be like to order a baby with technology that is likely to be available soon. Sometimes it's better to try something before reading about it. If you haven't, go do it and then come back.
When Torill was working on her second book The Unnatural Selection of Our Species she performed numerous interviews and research trips around the world to find out more on genetic editing in humans. In the beginning, she had a hypothesis that science was advanced but not within practical reach for decades.
After one particular trip, she and Julia met for a cup of tea and Torill explained both horrified and excited that actually the first genetically modified babies had already been born. This and further development raised severe ethical issues. Why is no one talking about this? We need to talk about it!
We then decided to take this knowledge and place it in the concrete format of a website where you can go through the process of customising a baby. Because let's face it, society and people have a much greater chance of handling big changes if we have reflected upon them beforehand.
All of the choices are probable and around the corner soon to be accessible. As with many new and shiny things, access is likely to be for only the very rich in the beginning. Even so, the entire field opens up questions such as "Who should be able to decide?" and "What should you be able to modify". When the opportunities exist, a passive choice will also be a choice.
Science journalist Torill Kornfeldt is available for questions and lectures at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her book the The Unnatural Selection of Our Species is published in Swedish with more languages on the way. Here is Torill's Instagram.
For more on visualization or experimental tech projects, check out Order Order's Instagram. Julia is available for hire and collaboration, read more on Order Order's website or contact at email@example.com.
Book Människan i provröret, Torill Kornfeldt. Natur & Kultur 2020. ISBN 9789127158061 (in Swedish, covers all of the topics on this website.)
The first scientific study to show that crispr-cas9 could be used on human embryo cells. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing in human tripronuclear zygotes. Liang et al. Protein & Cell May 2015, Volume 6, Issue 5, pp 363–372
A list of known diseases caused by a single-gene mutation can be found at OMNI Gene map statistics (total 6538 in November 2019) and more information about this type of disorders can be found at NCBI Single-Gene disorders
A scientific review article on what we know about intelligence, heritability and genetics. The new genetics of intelligence. Plomin and von Stumm, Nature reviews genetics 19, pages 148–159(2018)
News article: IVF couples could be able to choose the ‘smartest’ embryo.The Guardian 24 May 2019
Scientific article about the genetic connection between creativity and some psychological disorders.Polygenic risk scores for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder predict creativity. Power et al. Nature Neuroscience volume 18, pages953–955(2015)
This article summarizes the debate between researchers on if, when, how and why we should edit human embryos. Scientists Disagree About the Ethics and Governance of Human Germline Editing. 17 January 2019
Where will the first clinic offering gene editing be located? That is still a big question, but these two articles give some good perspective: Where in the world could the first CRISPR baby be born? Nature News, 13 October 2015 Tighten up Mexico’s regulations on human gene editing. Aquino-Jarquin, Nature, 26 February 2019
The bioethicist Tetsuya Ishii has written several articles on the risks of human embryo modification. Some of them are Germ line genome editing in clinics: the approaches, objectives and global society. Briefings in Functional Genomics, Volume 16, Issue 1, January 2017, Pages 46–56. Providing Appropriate Risk Information on Genome Editing for Patients. Trends in Biotechnology Volume 34, Issue 2, February 2016, Pages 86-90 Germline genome-editing research and its socioethical implications. Trends in Molecular medicine Volume 21, Issue 8, August 2015, Pages 473-481 The ethics of creating genetically modified children using genome editing Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity: December 2017 - Volume 24 - Issue 6 - p 418–423
The next frontier in reproductive tourism? Genetic modification The Conversation (Nov 2016)
The market for reproductive tourism will most likely continue to grow. The fertility business is booming. The Economist. 8 August 2019 Asia-Pacific IVF Services Market is Expected to Reach $13.66 Bn through 2025 Allied Market research. 12 June 2019
Credits and Extras
The checkboxes and radio buttons are based on the works on accessible checkboxes by Sara Soueidan. Small icons in all checkboxes are by Refactoring UI.