“I suppose that for those of us who make some of our living from writing about fictional dystopias, rather than utopias, the hysterical reaction to the news that Dr Karim Nayernia and his team at Newcastle University claim to have ‘created’ human sperm in the laboratory can only be a good thing.
“It’s gratifying that in the 77 years since Aldous Huxley published Brave New World his vision of a future in which humans are produced in assembly-line laboratories, according to predetermined characteristics — physical, intellectual and emotional — still remains so deeply embedded in the popular consciousness.
“Of course, I may be kidding myself here, and it’s not Huxley’s inspired — if a trifle didactic — satire that makes so many people so suspicious of assisted reproduction techniques but some sci-fi Z-movie with a title such as Mad Lesbian Scientists Destroy all Men.
“Because to read the lubricious versions of Dr Nayernia’s paper about his work in the press (it was published initially in the drier-sounding journal Stem Cell and Development), it is but a short wriggle from achieving successful spermatogenesis in the lab to the annihilation of anything human that has — in our charming cockney colloquialism — meat ‘n’ two veg.”
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