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Public attitudes towards the selection of desirable characteristics in children
  1. Theresa Marteau,
  2. Susan Michie,
  3. Harriet Drake,
  4. Martin Bobrow
  1. 1Psychology and Genetics Research Group, UMDS, Guy's Campus, London SE1 9RT, UK

    Abstract

    This paper reports the results of a survey of 973 members of the British public in which attitudes towards methods of achieving desired personal characteristics in their children are compared. While there was little support for the use of gene manipulation to achieve desirable traits in children, the proportion who would consider doing so has more than doubled in the 12 months since the public were last polled on this question. The small but growing public support for the use of gene therapy to enhance human characteristics points to the need for a debate involving the public as well as scientists before such techniques are feasible.

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