The use of techniques from genetics to alter or control the reproductive process. Also: repro-genetics.
Without providing a shred of evidence, the Raelian cult made headlines with sensational claims of creating cloned babies. Far less attention is being paid to well-documented advances that will soon give us the power to create people with chosen genetic qualities, thus altering the course of human evolution.
Although human genetic manipulation, which focuses on altering select genes sometimes called reprogenetics is still in early stages of research, scientists report few obstacles to eventual success.
"I am absolutely convinced that we will have both an expansion of pre-embryo genetic diagnosis as well as genetic enhancement of embryos," Lee Silver, a Princeton University biologist and genetic expert and author of "Remaking Eden," says. "We have already perfected this in animals."
The power to change the future of the human race is, in some ways, more frightening than the weapons of mass destruction we hear so much about today.
It is a weapon of mass creation.
Caroline S. Wagner, "The Weapons of Mass Creation," Los Angeles Times, February 13, 2003
The age of "reprogenetics"an amalgam of recently devised techniques in reproductive biology and geneticsis upon us, whether we are ready for it or not.
"Remaking Eden," Publisher's Weekly, November 3, 1997
This birth [of Louise Brown] represented the culmination of more than a decade of work on human eggs and embryos by Steptoe and Edwards, who should be recognized as the founders of the new age of reprogenetics. The significance of their technical feat cannot be over-emphasized. IVF the term now used to describe the entire process from egg and sperm collection to embryo placement in the uterus was developed originally for the purpose of curing one type of infertility. But what IVF does inherently, as well, is provide access to the egg and embryo. And with this access, it becomes possible to observe and modify the embryo and its genetic material before a pregnancy is initiated.
Lee Silver, Remaking Eden: Cloning and Beyond in a Brave New World, Avon Books, November 1997
Today's word seems to have been coined by geneticist Lee Silver, who used the term in his 1997 book Remaking Eden, although in that book he also mentions using the term as early as 1995. Reprogenetics is ostensibly about preventing certain genetic diseases, such as cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia. However, reprogenetics is also the science behind the so-called designer babies. This phrase, which first appeared around 1985, refers to babies that have had certain characteristics from sex to hair color to piano-playing ability chosen in advance by their parents.