Hello. I'm Eric Topol, Editor-in-Chief of Medscape, and I am here with a One-on-One interview with former Vice President Al Gore. We're going to be talking about fetal genome sequencing and designer babies.Fetal sequencing, which was a big breakthrough. We can now obviate the need for amniocentesis; it's just remarkable.But it also circles back to the question of what do you do with the information? Will it lead to designer babies? What are your thoughts about that?
I have many thoughts about it. We all should be paying attention to this, because some of the choices that parents will now have are benign, nonsignificant outcomes -- blue eyes, black hair, whatever.But if we make choices that affect not only the individual but also the germline, and introduce changes into generations stretching far into the future, we need to be pretty careful that we understand the full implications of those choices.And what we're currently seeing is a determination to make those choices even though we don't understand what the implications areThe ethics of not making these choices are so clear that nobody is going to argue with it. But we see things like parental competition and what it's done to the test-preparation industryWe see competition that has driven too many kids to take these [ADHD] concentration-enhancing drugs that many doctors say can have really harmful side effects,and all because the competitive pressures drive them in that direction.And if we are allowed trait selection choices that have competitive implications, you bet some parents are going to feel real pressure and desire to make those choices.
This has been a fantastic interview. We've had the chance to get some unique perspectives from former Vice President Al Gore.