Remaking Eden: How Genetic Engineering and Cloning Will Transform the American Family

Overview

Could a child have two genetic mothers? Will parents someday soon be able to choose not only the physical characteristics of their children-to-be, but their personalities and talents as well? Will genetic enhancement ultimately lead to a split in the human species?

In this brilliant, provocative, and necessary book, Lee M. Silver takes a cautiously optimistic look at the scientific advances that will allow us to engineer life in ways that were unimaginable just a few short years...

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Overview

Could a child have two genetic mothers? Will parents someday soon be able to choose not only the physical characteristics of their children-to-be, but their personalities and talents as well? Will genetic enhancement ultimately lead to a split in the human species?

In this brilliant, provocative, and necessary book, Lee M. Silver takes a cautiously optimistic look at the scientific advances that will allow us to engineer life in ways that were unimaginable just a few short years ago—indeed, in ways that go far beyond cloning. In clear, engaging, and accessible prose, Silver demystifies the science behind a myriad of thrilling and frightening new possibilities, in a book that is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the hopes and dilemmas of the American family in the twenty-first century.

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Editorial Reviews

San Jose Mercury News
Where can we expect this new era to take us? Lee M. Silver has some answers, and if you thing you are opposed to cloning human beings, be prepared for a major reassessment...Remaking Eden should be required reading for politicians before they consider legislation regarding human cloning.
NY Times Book Review
Realistic, informed speculation by a geneticist and teacher of bioethics who finds the American polity so constructed that government can do little to control whatever potential parents desire and can afford; he's not at all sure that's bad, either.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061235191
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/7/2007
  • Series: Ecco Series
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 400,441
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Lee M. Silver is professor of molecular biology and public affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton Uni-versity, and author of Challenging Nature. He holds a Ph.D. in biophysics from Harvard University, and he lives with his family in New Jersey and New York.

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Read an Excerpt

Prologue
A Glimpse of Things to Come

DATELINE BOSTON: JUNE 1, 2010

Someone in the not-so-distant future, you may visit the maternity ward at a major university hospital to see the newborn child or grandchild of a close friend. The new mother, let's call her Barbara, seems very much at peace w~ the world, sitting in a chair quietly nursing her baby, Max. Her labor was in ~e parlance of her doctor—"uneventful," and she is looking forward to raising her first child. You decide to make pleasant conversation by asking Barbara whether she knew in advance that her baby was going to be a boy. In your mind, it seems like a perfectly reasonable question since doctors have long given prospective parents the option of learning the sex of their child to-be many months before the predicted date of birth. But Barbara seems taken aback by the question. "Of course I knew that Max would be a boy ' she tells you. "My husband Dan and I chose him from our embryo pool. And when I'm ready to go through this again, I'll choose a girl to be my second child. An older son and a younger daughter a perfect family."

Now, it's your turn to be taken aback. "You made a conscious to have a boy rather than a girl?," you ask.

"Absolutely!," Barbara answers. "And while I was at it, I made sure that Max wouldn't turn out to be fat like my brother Tom or addicted to alcohol like Dan's sister Karen. It's not that I'm personally biased or any thing," Barbara continues defensively. "I just wanted to make sure that Max would have the greatest chance for achieving success. Being overweight or alcoholic would clearly be a handicap"

You look down in wonderment at the little baby boy destined to bemoderate in both size and drinking habits.

Max has fallen asleep in Barbara's arms, and she places him gently in his bassinet. He wears a contented smile, which evokes a similar smile from his mother. Barbara feels the urge to stretch her legs and asks whether you'd like to meet some of the new friends she's made during her brief stay at the hospital. You nod, and the two of you walk into the room next door where a thirty-five-year old woman named Cheryl is resting after giving birth to a nine-pound baby girl named Rebecca.

Barbara introduces you to Cheryl as well as a second woman named Madelaine, who stands by the bed holding Cheryl's hand. Little Rebecca is lying under the gaze of both Cheryl and Madelaine. "She really does look like both of her mothers, doesn't she?," Barbara asks you.

Now you're really confused. You glance at Barbara and whisper "Both mothers?"

Barbara takes you aside to explain. "Yes. You see Cheryl and Madelaine have been living together for eight years. They got married in Hawaii soon after it became legal there, and like most married couples, they wanted to bring a child into the world with a combination of both of their bloodlines. With the reproductive technologies available today, they were able to fulfill their dreams."

You look across the room at the happy little nuclear family—Cheryl, Madelaine, and baby Rebecca—and wonder how the hospital plans to fill out the birth certificate.

Copyright ) 1997 by Lee M. Silver

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Table of Contents

Prologue: A Glimpse of Things to Come 1
1 What Is Life? 15
2 Where Does Life Come From? 24
3 Doe Your First Cell Deserve Respect? 35
4 From Your First Cell to You 48
5 Babies Without Sex 63
6 In Vitro Fertilization and the Dawn of a New Age 67
7 Frozen Life 78
8 From Science Fiction to Reality 91
9 Human "Cuttings" 102
10 Where Will Cloning Lead Us? 126
11 Three Mothers and Two Fathers 133
12 Contracting for a Biological Mother 138
13 Buying and Selling Sperm and Eggs 152
14 Confused Heritage 163
15 Shared Genetic Motherhood 176
16 Could a Father Be a Mother? 191
17 The Virtual Child 199
18 The Designer Child 227
Epilogue: Human Destiny? 240
Acknowledgments 251
Notes 255
Index 307
About the Author 317
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