An infographic lists a few of what its author considers to be “2012’s biggest moments in science.” These are:
- Higgs boson discovered.
- Curiosity lands on Mars.
- Fetal genome sequencing.
- Quantum teleportation distance record broken.
- The discovery of an earth-sized exoplanet “orbiting Alpha Centauri B, one of the stars in the stellar system nearest to our own” (This is listed despite the fact that, as the infographic itself informs us, “Because the planet orbits much closer to its star than Earth, it likely does not host life.”).
- Superstorm Sandy as a consequence of climate change.
Notice number 3 in particular. The text states,
Researchers in June announced the successful sequencing of a fetus’ genome using snippets of DNA in the mother’s blood. They indicated a test might be widely available in about five years, which brings up potentially monumental consequences. If such tests became as routine as sonograms, what would expectant parents do with such information — which diseases their child-to-be would be more prone to or knowledge about personality traits or physical appearance?
Despite the innocent-sounding language, this is bound to raise all kinds of moral and larger metaphysical questions. Thoughts?