One exciting thing about CRISPR technology is the possibility of using animal organs in people who are sick. Michael Specter in his 2016 National Geographic article notes that many people wait and die on organ donation lists every year. Scientists have been trying to find a way to use pig organs in humans for many years. One setback is the PERV gene in swine which can cause aids in humans. CRISPR technology has the potential to remove this gene from the pig organs and successful use these organs in people to save thousands of lives (Specter, p.3). One frightening aspect of this concept is the number of pigs that will need to be slaughtered for this. There are also many unknowns about this procedure, and people could still get infected with aids from the swine organ, or some other disease scientists do not know of yet.
We should not do gene editing on humans. Doing this type of gene manipulation is a socio-technological fix for various diseases and disabilities that can be passed on by childbirth. However, as Marcy Darnovaky points out in her 2016 National Geographic article, “far too much is unknown about issues including off-target mutations (unintentional edits to the genome), persistent editing effects, genetic mechanisms in embryonic and fetal development, and longer-term health and safety consequences” (p.3). One of the terrifying aspects of human genetic manipulation as Marcy Darnovasky (2016) points out is the possibility to “exacerbate already existing discrimination, inequality, and conflicts” (p.4). This is common with all socio-techno fixes, the possibility of unintended consequences. There is also a chance that manipulating genes to create a perfect baby may not solve the medical issues they want to fix (Ibid, p.3). The idea of living in a world like the movie Gattaca, where discrimination is based on perfect gene people is terrifying.