THE underlying distrust of reproductive technologies stems from the fact that its use offers people choices that would not be available through nature but the term “designer babies” is an inaccurate reflection of the current ability of science to actively fashion children with selected characteristics (“Designer baby revolution is less than two years away, research suggests”, The Herald, November 19, and Letters, November 20).

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 charges the associated authority with responsibility for determining the technologies are used within legal and ethical parameters and thereby imposes numerous restrictions. In fact, access to artificial reproduction is limited by law, ethics, and money.

Currently most couples can obtain only limited access to treatment through the NHS and this is further hindered by over-regulation generated by fears of the technology. Dr Calum MacKellar’s idea that natural selection and survival of the fittest is preferable to scientific help verges on the Luddite.

Rev Dr John Cameron, St Andrews.

Catching up

I NOTE your article on Liz Bonnin's film on the devastating impact of plastic on the oceans and marine life “Filmmaker turns up the heat on meat over fears for planet”, The Herald, November 20).

Rebecca Hosking made a film on the same topic in 2007. Her documentary was the trigger for Modbury in Devon being the first town in Britain to stop giving out plastic carrier bags with purchases. Why has it taken 12 years for humanity to realise we have to stop destroying the creatures with whom we share the planet?

Margaret Forbes, Kilmacolm.

Radio gripe

THE BBC has applied to Ofcom for permission to discontinue the afternoon broadcast of Newsround (“Issue of the Day: BBC abandons teatime Newsround”, The Herald, November 18). This will be a big blow to parents who like to watch a programme of quality and education with their children. It is a retrograde step mirrored by the seeming attitude to news at BBC Radio Scotland.

Today (November 20) the 8am news, sport, travel and weather was over in a mere six minutes. This used to be a 10-minute slot and until recently was eight or nine minutes long. At weekends it is shorter still with the weather condensed. On these two days when more people are able to seek recreation outdoors, we are rarely informed of crucial detail such as wind direction. Reductions in staff and in news gathering and inappropriate editing may be some of the factors in the declining relevance of Radio Scotland News.

R J Ardern, Inverness.

The mighty midge

I IMAGINE that many people, particularly those living in the West Highlands and Islands, will not share George Herraghty’s distress at the news that wind turbine blades attract and destroy swarms of flying insects (Letters, November 20). Indeed, I can see it triggering a rush of orders for wind turbines from all along the west coast.

However, wind turbines may not solve everyone’s midge problem. For, if Para Handy is to be believed, the midges at Tighnabruaich can “bite their way through corrugated iron”. So they would surely make short work of a mere wind turbine blade.

Alistair Easton, Edinburgh EH12.

Like minds

ANY chance that “like” might join “so” in redundancy (Letters, November 19 & 20)?

So I’m, like, so disliking both.

Gordon Casely, Crathes.

REGARDING the overuse of the word “So” (Letters, November 19 & 209): what about “like”, and “absolutely” and worse still, “niaou” (now) which is screeched at us every day by TV presenters in a cat-like sound.

Jim Nolan, Strachur.