The genetic caste system that Hawking predicts is just a function of next-gen economic disparities — an evolved, scientific iteration of what already happens when people with money have the means to improve themselves and their namesakes.
Fifteen million babies are born prematurely each year. Stephen Quake’s daughter, Zoe, was one of them: she arrived via emergency C-section after Quake and his wife, Athina, made a middle-of-the-night dash to the emergency room, a month before Zoe was due. She spent her first night in an incubator, and her father, a bioengineer then at Caltech, wondered why birth couldn’t be more predictable.
RECENTLY, TWO eminent groups of scientists and health and medical experts made a startling statement: Under very limited circumstances, it could be permissible to edit the genes of human eggs, sperm, or embryos. This marked the first time that a scientific organization has so explicitly acknowledged this possibility.