Would you want to live in a world where your friends were “better” than you, only because they were genetically modified to be? Would you want to put your child’s life on the line so they would have blue eyes instead of brown? Would you you want to risk a genetic mutation being passed down from generation to generation because you wanted your child to be more athletic? There may be a world soon where all of these ideas are reality. How? Genetically modifying the genetic code in an embryo. The genes from the embryo, which affect the many traits people have, are changed in a lab giving you certain characteristics. By using this technology geneticist can find genes in the embryo that would have caused genetic diseases, and fix them. It may seem all fantastic and amazing, but there is a dark side to this new technology. It is still considered hazardous, any genetic mistakes could be carried over into future generations, and it could provoke racism and judgement. However, it should be used as a last resort to solve life threatening genetic diseases. Firstly, many leading geneticists agree on one thing, genetically modifying a child’s genes as an embryo is a perilous, and potentially deadly procedure. Paula Amato, an associate professor at Oregon Health & Science University notes that a baby should not be made this way until it is deemed safe and effective (Stein 1). Amato is only one of many leading geneticists the believes that this process is unsafe. According to Stein, “… Marcy Darnovsky, who directs the center for Genetics and Society, a genetics watchdog group in Berkeley Calif. ‘It’s a flagrant disregard of calls for a broader societal consensus in decisions about a really momentous technology that could be used good, but in this case is being used in preparation for an extraordinarily risky application'” (1). Yet another expert, Darnovsky also agrees with Amato and a great deal of the population. The majority of experts at the International Summit on Gene Editing, agree that until genome editing is proven safe it should not be attempted (National Human Genome Research Institute 1). A whole convention of scientists, in addition to Amato and Darnovsky all agree that human genome editing is dangerous and should not be attempted. Next, another concern with having genetically modified people is, being judgemental and racist towards the not genetically modified people. Many people are worried that not genetically modified people will be judged by the genetically modified and new social classes will be born from the differences (National Human Genome Research Institute 2). When people are separated into social classes segregation will occur, just like in the instance of genetically modified humans. In the words of Discovery Education, “Many other groups are firmly against using genetic profiling in any way… They are concerned it will lead to discrimination against people with disabilities, people who lack desireable or fashionable traits, and women” (2). This also a concern amongst some part of the general public. Some clinics would start to offer parents the ability to design their child to fit the times (Discovery Education 2). The parents may have an in-style baby now, but what about in five years, 10 years, or even 20? Will the child still be in style?Lastly, it may seem to be a good thing if your child inherits your amazing modified genes. According to USA Today, “scientists essentially snipped a mutant gene known to cause heart disease that can lead to sudden death… those changes would then be inherited by future generations,” (1). This may seem all amazing wiping out disease forever, because we’re all genetically modified to be immune to all disease. The issue is that scientists actually know very little about the millions of gene combinations, and the technology they use may cause a new genetic mutation to spring up. Would you want to risk passing an unknown genetic mutation on to your children? Rob Stein points out, by making and raising a genetically modified baby with unknown mutations, those mutations would be passed down to all their future generations (2).
September 11, 2019 0 Comments