The Pros And Cons Of Gene-Editing Human Babies
Start writing a post
Technology

Genetically Modification Could Save Future Babies From Illnesses, But Also Pose New Issues

Now imagine if people can breed smarter, stronger, and (sociologically) more attractive kids? The problem is that the possibilities are truly endless, and this experience has insidious implications.

155
Baby sleeping

You read that right. He Jiankui, a renowned scientist from China, has created the first two human genetically modified babies. The technology is called CRISPR/Cas9, and it's the same tech that we use to modify plants like soy.

My first question was "are people just allowed to do that?" Well, depends on what country you live in. In the US for example, there are at the least minimal regulations based on ethics. However, this hasn't stalled us from innovating at a startling pace. America only lagged two years behind China for the first genetic modifications to a human embryo. Since it is seen as far more controversial in Western nations, we have seen the slight delay of creating genetically modified babies. But make no mistake, it is only a lag. Not a prevention.

Many critics of this innovation echo the sentiment of Eric Topol, a geneticist at the Scripps Research Institute, who said, "We're talking about changing every cell of the human body's 37 trillion cells. That's never been done before. And it was done in a rogue fashion.''

But the changing of our genetics begs a bigger question than the way it was accomplished.

Should we be able to alter our genes?

People inside and outside the scientific community are saying no, and for many different reasons. The first deals with whether or not we should diagnose embryos with genetic diseases and cure them before the infant is born, and then use genetic modification as a direct solution. For example, He was altering the embryos in order to prevent the HIV that they would have from their fathers. However, there are already scientific methods that do not involve genetic modification, such as "washing" the sperm of the HIV. The truth is, once this technology hits the market, we can't currently regulate which method people will choose. And CRISPR kits are already inexpensive online, rounding up to about $1,000. There's a lack of legal understanding, in the US and abroad, on whether or not these experimentations are legal. This compounds the problem when the effects of this innovation can be massive and devastating.

The next controversy deals with "designer babies." This is a concept developed from the imagination of what gene editing could bring, with a terrifyingly familiar tune of eugenics. Will people begin crafting a "superior race"? As one can imagine, this will only be accessible to the wealthy one-percenters who already have paramount advantages over the rest of the population. Now imagine if people can breed smarter, stronger, and (sociologically) more attractive kids? The problem is that the possibilities are truly endless, and this experience has insidious implications.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Politics

Why The United Nations Is Key For The World

"As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th"- Donald J. Trump

64
Why The United Nations Is Key For The World
Flickr/ses7

The United Nations (UN) has been in existence since June of 1945. Since then, the world has come together to work on and solve some of the harshest problems that face the Human Race. Be it children in societal ills like Human Trafficking, natural issues like Deforestation, or issues of extreme poverty, the UN has worked together in an attempt to make it a better place for us all. It's the only organization in the history of the world to bring people together in a willing, peaceful way; a feat that not even the League of Nations could do in the Post- WWI era. Why was it that one organization failed, and the other one is still going strong, 72 years later?

Keep Reading...Show less
Rory Gilmore
Bustle

Quick-witted and insanely smart, Rory Gilmore has a track record for memorable, relevant quotes that have become a part of fans’ repertoires. With it being finals season, many of Rory’s words can be conveniently interpreted to reflect life during the last weeks of the semester. Here are some of Rory’s wisest words that explain your life during finals season.

Keep Reading...Show less
Featured

Rosh Hashanah Reflection

My experience welcoming the Jewish new year.

782
Rosh Hashanah Reflection
The Huffington Post

Well, the fall season is finally upon us. It’s time for pumpkin spice coffee, apple cider and lots of candy.

Keep Reading...Show less
Featured

Fall Is Here!

10 reasons why you should love fall

3729
Fall Is Here!
Photo Cred: T Stangell

It's officially fall, which means I am happy, so very happy. Fall is hands down the best season on the planet. Below, I will go over reasons as to why fall is the best and should be loved by everyone.

Keep Reading...Show less
Featured

Coffee! Coffee! Coffee!

Lorelai Gilmore and I are kindred spirits.

5242
Coffee! Coffee! Coffee!

When I was in high school, I was the occasional coffee drinker, if you could call it that. I would drink Starbucks frappuccinos and iced mocha drinks, which were more like snacks than coffee, BUT they had coffee in them, so I said I drank coffee. I progressed from my love of “snack drinks" to a more general appreciation of coffee, and would have a cup of coffee once a week or so. My “cup of coffee" would consist of a little coffee and a lot of cream and sugar, but it was coffee nonetheless. Then I started college.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments