Creating designer babies is just 'responsible parenting', a leading academic has argued.
Julian Savulescu, professor of practical ethics at Oxford University, said that genetically screening embryos to create better people could be considered a moral obligation.
The academic, who made his comments in an article in the latest edition of Reader's Digest, argues that screening for personality traits that are linked to certain genes could mean that children are 'ethically better'.
If parents had a choice over their children's character, it could mean they are less likely to harm themselves and others, he said.
"Screening embryos like this is illegal at present, but isn't rational design something we should welcome?" he asked.
"If we have the power to intervene in the nature of our offspring -- rather than consigning them to the natural lottery -- then we should.
He continued: "Surely trying to ensure that your children have the best, or a good enough, opportunity for a great life is responsible parenting?
"So where genetic selection aims to bring out a trait that clearly benefits an individual and society, we should allow parents the choice.
Professor Savulescu added: "Indeed, when it comes to screening out personality flaws, such as potential alcoholism, psychopathy and dispositions to violence, you could argue that people have a moral obligation to select ethically better children.
"They are, after all, less likely to harm themselves and others."
•Professor Savulescu's comments appear in the September issue of Reader's Digest, to be published on Tuesday