ARTICLE | Politics, Policy & Law

Messages from Lyon

February 12, 2001 8:00 AM UTC

European media covering BioVision were able to go to town with the brave new world predictions of Francis Collins, director of the U.S. National Human Genome Research Institute, as newspaper headlines prophesized the imminent emergence of so-called designer babies.

Collins told delegates that he believes there will be pressure on scientists within 30 years to tinker with the genes of sperm and eggs to create genetically modified human embryos with enhanced traits. "I find this interesting but somewhat chilling," he said. "It implies someone knows what an improvement is and it also implies we could be sure enough about the safety issues to contemplate altering our very biology. I think from my own perspective, that is an enterprise that I hope we would not undertake for a long time, if ever."...