Anthropic Park

One aspect of genetic engineering that is both exhilarating and frightening was brought up by Michael Specter in National Geographic. He says that genetic modification will affect generation after generation in a family line (Specter, 1). The reason this is exhilarating is it can rid genetically caused diseases from families. Parents don’t have to worry about dealing with genetic diseases or paying for hospital bills when it comes to their children. Moreover, couples with diseases in their family will have the opportunity to have children when some would avoid it for the wellbeing of their kids. The reason this is frightening is mistakes or unintended consequences could become part of the next generation’s genetic code. The fear is that a mistake will not be noticed immediately and may become a problem for the person or family.

It is hard to decide whether or not gene editing should be used on humans. For starters, I would like to hear more debates surrounding it and the processes in performing it. Specter details the process of using Cas9 to cut DNA and using an RNA guide that directs the scalpel to nucleotides (Specter, 2). Much of the debate around the process, especially from a religious perspective, does come from the use of and or loss of embryos. I think the most difficult part of saying no to genetic editing is denying people that struggle with terrible genetic diseases the opportunity to avoid passing those problems on. It is hard to say no to preventing diseases and avoiding expensive hospital bills, being in pain and hospitals, the problem with the process of being diagnosed, and having to use medication in whatever form is necessary. I honestly do not know enough about how reliable the process of genetic engineering is. I think I would be more open to it if I had more information about the consequences/if there were more that could be unintended.

4 thoughts on “Anthropic Park”

  1. Genetic modification in humans certainly serves as one of the most unknown domains of CRISPR technology, which is why it is both exciting and terrifying. We realize that there is potential for a solution to the most vicious killer of humans throughout history, which is diseases. However, along with this possibility comes worry about the unknown consequences that could result from this sort of procedure as well. One example may be that we can edit a gene that cures diabetes or blindness, but by editing that gene, a different disorder or disease sprouts up out of nowhere. This fact also shines light on your want for more information about genetic engineering. CRIPSR technology would undoubtedly take off in research and popularity if we all knew more about its reliability and effectiveness towards editing human genes. Hopefully, we will reach this point soon and unlock the full potential of CRIPSR technology while maintaining an ethical course of action.

  2. I too would like to hear more debates about gene editing. It is an important advancement that gets washed out by other hot topics. You make a good point about unintended consequences. While most people, including myself, are concerned with ridding disease and the social problems that come with gene editing and not how gene editing could negatively effect our health and well-being. I think your discussion on religion brings us back to the relationship between science, empire, and religion. Gene editing certainly has many ethical implications to it as it does health implications.

  3. The prospect of ridding future generations entirely of genetic diseases is certainly a tantalizing one, and the ethics of it are indeed complicated. If we can prevent suffering, shouldn’t we try to do so? I think the simple answer is yes, but this does not account for the inequality in this alleviation process. Undoubtedly the future generations who would benefit from this technology would be born to wealthy persons living in the developed, Western world, and those who are already disadvantaged would be served with an even greater slice of the inequality pie. Of course, just because a technology is too expensive or unattainable in certain places doesn’t necessarily mean it shouldn’t be used – if this were the case our society’s use of technology would be unrecognizably altered. There is no easy answer to these questions, even for something as well-intentioned as curing disease.

  4. I agree that this should be talked about more. I actually believe that more controversial topics should be brought out and talked about. If we can talk about these topics without ending in a shouting match will help so many people. We would get all of the pros and cons of technology, such as CRISPR, and the everyday person can express their worries. We can look at all aspects of the topic, such as religious, economic, and scientific.

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