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Stephen Hawking’s last fear was rise of the superhuman by manipulating DNA

A posthumous book of the physicist’s last writings carries a stark warning about our skill in manipulating DNA. He died seven months ago, but this has not stopped Professor Stephen Hawking sparking controversy about a new race of “superhumans”.

Hawking: ordinary humans won’t be able to compete
Hawking: ordinary humans won’t be able to competeTIMES PHOTOGRAPHER JACK HILL

In his final prediction, one of the world’s most celebrated scientists suggests that genetic engineering was likely to create a new species of superhuman that could destroy the rest of humanity.

Hawking, who died in March, left a collection of articles and essays on what he called “the big questions”, in preparation for a book that will be published on Tuesday. In Brief Answers to the Big Questions he suggests that wealthy people will soon be able to choose to edit their own and their children’s DNA to create superhumans with enhanced memory, disease resistance, intelligence and longevity.


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