As regras do património genético

CLEVELAND – Desde há milhares de anos que os seres humanos têm utilizado a engenharia genética para controlarem a evolução de plantas e de animais. Por isso, é inevitável que iremos utilizá-la para moldar a nossa própria evolução. Os nossos esforços até agora têm sido modestos: os serviços de encontros online estão a começar a fazer corresponder os pares entre os assinantes, com base nas suas compatibilidades genéticas; os pais seleccionam cada vez mais os embriões e os fetos, permitindo que apenas nasçam aqueles que têm genes saudáveis; os geneticistas melhoram lentamente a sua capacidade de manipular o ADN directamente; e ninguém está a tentar fazer alterações germinativas em seres humanos que serão passadas às gerações seguintes.

A engenharia evolucionista humana em larga escala ainda está distante, mas, em alguma fase no futuro, ela pode muito bem tornar-se numa rotina. O desafio para a humanidade é duplo: sobreviver o tempo suficiente para chegar a essa fase; e causar o mínimo de danos durante o caminho até lá chegar.

Os que estão em risco imediato são as crianças, que estão em perigo de terem o seu material genético manipulado de formas prejudiciais. O dano pode ser físico (nados-mortos, deformidades e doenças genéticas), mas até mesmo a engenharia genética tecnicamente bem-sucedida pode causar danos psicossociais às crianças, que podem ser afastadas da sociedade pelos colegas, por terem uma aparência estranha ou simplesmente “diferente”.

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