Cloning choices: Designer babies possible

Every culture has its Tír na nÓg legend, celebrating a place of eternal youth, where age and decline never intrude.

A Chinese researcher, who claims he helped make the world’s first genetically edited babies, may have made that legend alive again.

Leaving aside for a moment the ethical considerations of such fate-twisting, the prospect of designer humanoids gives rise to a new parlour game: Who would you clone and why?

Would Churchill’s racism and imperialism be tolerable, if he could resolve the lunacies of Brexit?

Would a new Frank Sinatra or Bob Hope survive, even until Christmas, in this #Metoo world?

Would the romance around the ‘lost leader’ Michael Collins fade, if he was remade and survived to become just another boring, pious reactionary?

Who — or how many — might be cloned to rejuvenate Cork hurling?

Garret FitzGerald once said that a proposal was fine in practice, but wondered how it might be in theory.

This prospect raises a version of that question — cloning sounds fine, but who gets to decide whose genes are perpetuated?

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