Biotechnology falls somewhere between these extremes.


Transgenic crops and human genetic engineering make people far more uneasy than do personal computers or the Internet.


But biotechnology also promises important benefits for human health and well-being.


When presented with an advance like the ability to cure diabetes, it is hard for people to articulate reasons why their unease with the technology should stand in the way of progress.


It is easiest to object to a new biotechnology if its development leads to a botched clinical trial or to a deadly allergic reaction to a genetically modified food.


But the real threat of biotechnology lies in the possibilities of human cloning, “designer babies”—eugenic selection for intelligence, sex, and personality—and eventually, the end of the human species as such.


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