Looking back over the essays in this collection, as well as the two-hundred-plus years since Frankenstein was conceived and published, this postscript asks us to recall that Mary Shelley’s own life experiences, especially childbirth, were sources for her story, even as it incorporated many other ingredients from her milieu. And today, the possibilities for creating artificial life that Frankenstein reflects on and prefigures so vividly are echoed directly in much bioscience. Shelley’s tale haunts our minds when we learn of the development of the Non-Invasive Prenatal Diagnosis, which can genetically scan a pregnant woman’s blood to make detailed predictions about her fetus, and especially CRISPR technology, which could be used to edit the genes of a human embryo. More than Victor Frankenstein did with his creation, we must take responsibility for both the intended and the unintended consequences of human germline engineering.


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pp. 823-827
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