I’ve heard a lot about CRISPR technology over the course of this past year, but one thing that I haven’t heard about is about the proposal of CRISPR as a protentional weapon of mass destruction by U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in his report to the Senate. Clearly it is possible that terrorists could implement CRISPR technology into their library of methods of attack, but I don’t believe that this threat of CRISPR used as a weapon of mass destruction by Islamic terrorists should be held to the same regard as other methods of attack, as there are far easier ways to cause mass destruction than bringing in scientists to work alongside the elementary educated terrorists and construct ways to disease our crops. “Nevertheless, it would be shortsighted to pretend that the possibility for harm does not exist with these new molecular tools” (Specter, 230.2)
I think that gene editing on humans in the future is inevitable. I believe that there is much good that can come from CRISPR technology, but also that before the implementation of gene editing on humans there needs to be firm guidelines and laws that prevent unnecessary editing. This is where it gets complicated for me because the big question is, where do we draw the line? If it’s okay to cure diseases that have already infected humans, then is it okay to prevent diseases before we even contract them? Is it okay to use CRISPR to make us stronger or faster? Or less susceptible to physical injury with stronger joints and muscles? These are the questions that have to be discussed and agreed upon on a global scale. I think that regardless of the law, there will always be people somewhere editing genes to make a stronger soldier or a faster Olympic sprinter. Honestly I don’t know where I stand personally, if I had to vote on human gene editing today I would vote against it. We have gone without it for 200,000 years, and controlling human traits in an embryo from a scientific laboratory is nowhere near as simple of a concept as a vaccination that helps to prevent the flu.