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Genetic generations: artificial gametes and the embryos produced with them
  1. Timothy F Murphy
  1. Correspondence to Dr Timothy F Murphy, Department of Medical Education m/c 591, University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago, 808 S. Wood St, Chicago, IL 60612-7308, USA; tmurphy{at}uic.edu

Abstract

Certain interventions now permit the derivation of mammalian gametes from stem cells cultivated from either somatic cells or embryos. These gametes can be used in an indefinite cycle of conception in vitro, gamete derivation, conception in vitro, and so on, producing genetic generations that live only in vitro. One commentator has described this prospect for human beings as eugenics, insofar as it would allow for the selection and development of certain traits in human beings. This commentary not only offers this topic for discussion, it also wades into the ethical fray over the practice. Several possible lines of objection can be raised against this practice, but these accounts are by and large insufficient as an ethical analysis of this possible, future way of conceiving human children.

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