34 Wake Forest L. Rev. 639 (1999)
Herd Behavior in Designer Genes

handle is hein.journals/wflr34 and id is 649 raw text is: HERD BEHAVIOR IN DESIGNER GENES

Peter H. Huang
The ability of individuals to choose their children's genes has
increased over time and may ultimately culminate in a world
involving free market reprogenetic technologies. Reprogenetic
technologies combine advances in reproductive biology and ge-
netics to provide humans increased control over their children's
genes. This Article offers economic perspectives that are help-
ful in understanding the possibly unexpected ethical, legal, and
social issues at stake in using reprogenetic technologies for
trait enhancement selection. The Appendix analyzes two com-
petitive games that might arise in such a biotechnological soci-
ety. Specifically, the Article focuses on herd behavior, caused
by either a popularity contest or positional competition, in the
choice of genetic traits. The analytical game-theoretic models
in the Appendix can have several equilibrium outcomes in
terms of individual reprogenetic technological choices and cor-
responding beliefs about such choices by others. This multi-
plicity of potential social outcomes suggests that a society can
attain efficiency if the state or some private organization trans-
forms individual parents' beliefs over the choices of other par-
ents regarding their children's traits and, thus, coordinates pa-
rental reprogenetic decisions by selecting, as focal, certain
beliefs over parents' reprogenetic decisions.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION   .......................................................................................... 640
I.    SOURCES OF HERD BEHAVIOR FROM
INDIVIDUAL REPRO GENETIC CHOICE .............................................. 645
II.   ROLES FOR LAW AND PUBLIC POLICY ............................................. 653
III.  OTHER CONCERNS WITH DESIGNER GENES ................................... 657
* Assistant Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania. A.B., 1976,
Princeton University; Ph.D., 1984, Harvard University; J.D., 1997, Stanford
University. Many thanks to Scott Altman, Anita L. Allen-Castellitto, Rachel
Croson, Oliver Goodenough, Hank Greely, Mark Hall, Pamela Harris, Jason
Johnston, Leo Katz, Russell Korobkin, Eric Posner, Amanda Spitzer, Matt Spit-
zer, Eric Talley, and the audience members of the summer 1998 Wharton Ap-
plied Economics Lunch and the Gruter Institute for Law and Behavioral Re-
search 1998 Conference on The New Genetics and Reproduction: The Legal
Response for their helpful comments and suggestions.

639

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