Foreword: Shopping at the genetic supermarket

Peter Singer, Peter Singer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword/postscript

3 Scopus citations


Consider … the issue of genetic engineering. Many biologists tend to think the problem is one of design, of specifying the best types of persons so that biologists can proceed to produce them. Thus they worry over what sort(s) of person there is to be and who will control this process. They do not tend to think, perhaps because it diminishes the importance of their role, of a system in which they run a “genetic supermarket,” meeting the individual specifications (within certain moral limits) of prospective parents … This supermarket system has the great virtue that it involves no centralized decision fixing the future of human type(s). The genocide of deaf culture? Robert Nozick's genetic supermarket has arrived on the wings of angels brought to us by Ron Harris, the founder of, “the only website that provides you with the unique opportunity to bid on eggs from beautiful, healthy, intelligent women.” How should we respond to this and other options that will soon be beckoning? To assist us in answering these questions, I shall begin by considering a technique that has been with us for some time, but that has the effect of changing the nature of children. Understanding the basis on which this technique can be supported may help us to grapple with the more difficult question of what we should do about newer options that also change the nature of our children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Ethics of Inheritable Genetic Modification
Subtitle of host publicationA Dividing Line?
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780511584275
ISBN (Print)0521529735, 9780521822770
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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