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Manipulation for All

Authors Alex Salkever and Vivek Wadhwa predict at Fortune that within 20 years to 30 years parents will be able to select, to a certain extent, their children's hair and eye color and intelligence.

With improved computing capabilities, the pair says that researchers will soon have a better grip on which genes contribute to these and other traits as well as how those genes interact with other one. By combining that knowledge with CRISPR-based gene editing or pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, the duo says that parents who are willing to pay could choose with increasing accuracy desired traits.

But this, Salkever and Wadhwa note, brings up a host of ethical concerns. This could increase the disparities between the better and less well off, and compound it with each successive generation, they say.

"While genetic manipulation to save lives makes perfect sense, the process shouldn't be used to merely improve the chances of success of those already born with inherited socioeconomic advantages," they write.

Instead, Salkever and Wadhwa add that if it is to be available, it should be available to everyone.