CRISPR crazy

CRISPR, a power in the hands of humans making scientists able to alter, delete and rearrange the DNA of nearly any living organism (Specter, page 1). Sounds crazy yet?
There are several examples of this technology in the readings, but the most interesting examples presenting both exhilarating and frightening aspects, and also ethical questions, are the examples including humans. Specter gives an example of children born with Tay-Sachs disease, a very rare disease that only occurs when the child gets both defective versions of her/his parents gene. (Specter, page 5) Treating one of the parent’s contribution could save the life of their baby, and this shows how exhilarating this technology is. But do we know all of the risks connected to this intervention? Is it safe? Will it affect future generations in a negative way? We do not know how risky this would be, and far too much is unknown about the future effects. To me, it sounds like a crazy technology. Having the ability to edit a human DNA is a weird thing being possible, and if scientists start doing it, it will not be easy, or even possible to turn back. (Specter, page 5)
So, should gene editing be done to humans? Based on my paragraph above, I would argue that it should. Based on the reading from John Harris, we can’t get consent from future generations to edit genes in their favor; to prevent future diseases. (Harris, page 1) I do mention that the whole technology is risky but deciding not to act on a problem can be risky too. We won’t make decisions that will harm future generations, and gene editing may not be a natural thing, but if it will save lives, it is worth it, even though we don’t know much about the risks connected to this.

1 thought on “CRISPR crazy”

  1. Ms. Fristam,

    You make a valid point about the uses to which genetic editing can be put, however, I think the most dangerous aspect of genetic editing lies in the unexplored nature of its side effects. The example you used, of Tay-Sachs and its eradication, seems to have been less a matter of genetic editing and more one of eugenics, and though gene editing may seem like a more effective and advanced method of eradicating negative aspects of the human experience, it, like all quick fixes, is likely to result in more serious consequences further down the road.

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