Hacking Darwin was written to give people all the background they need to have informed conversations about one of the most important issue facing each and all of this and is perfect for book clubs.
One way to engage your group is to imagine yourselves in the fertility clinics of the future as described in the book. If you were being asked to make decisions about the traits of your future child, how might you respond?
If you’d like to have a more structured conversation, you might also explore one or more of the following questions:
1. What can be done to ensure the broadest possible access to the health and well-being benefits of genetic technologies?
2. Should there be limits on the application of genetic technologies to treat or eliminate disease? If so, what should they be?
3. Should people have full access to information about their own and their potential future children’s genetic makeup or should this access be limited? If limited, what should the restrictions be and why?
4. Should parents be allowed unlimited freedom to select from among their natural embryos during in vitro fertilization? If not, on what basis should limitations be set? Should parents be allowed to select embryos based on non-disease-related traits, like height, projected IQ, personality style, etc.?
5. If it is proven safe, should precision gene editing be used to eliminate genetic diseases in adult sex cells and preimplanted embryos in a manner that would be passed to future generations?
6. Do we need a global framework to help prevent the worst abuses of human genetic engineering? If so, what standards should underpin these efforts?
7. What long-term institutions do we need to foster an inclusive global dialogue on the future of human genetic engineering that optimizes the benefits of these technologies and minimizes potential harms?
8. What more can be done to help ensure the genetic revolution helps enhance all of our humanity, and how can each of us be better engaged in this process?
After your conversation, please feel free to submit your thoughts or questions to the Hacking Darwin forum, “Join the Global Conversation.”