One of the most interesting possible uses for CRISPR in my opinion is using it to make mosquitoes no longer carry the zika virus. This could potentially save many lives, especially in third world countries where medicine isn’t always readily available. The effects of using CRISPR on mosquitoes however is still not fully understood. It’s hard to say what exactly would happen if all mosquitoes genomes were altered. It could possibly open the door for a different virus worse than zika to be carried by mosquitoes. In all reality, there isn’t a way to see if using CRISPR on mosquitoes would be beneficial or harmful without actually trying it.
When it comes down to it, gene editing is just a technological fix. With all technological fixes, there can be unintended consequences. The most important thing to consider when implementing a technological fix is the risk vs reward, even when the risks aren’t easy to see. It’s also difficult to consider the risks when the modified genomes get passed on from generation to generation. On top of that, genetically modifying can be a slippery slope; what starts out as preventing a genetic disease, turns into modifying humans to perform better. It’s easy to see how using CRISPR on humans could get out of hand. That being said, there are many genetic diseases that currently can’t be cured. Genetically modifying humans could potentially cure these diseases as well as prevent them from being passed on to future generations. I think that gene editing should only be done to permanently cure diseases that currently don’t have cures. Maybe in the future, we will better understand genetic modifications and I’ll change my mind about using genetic modifications for other uses.