Gene Editing is the Spell Check of the Animal Kingdom

One example from the readings about CRISPR technology that is both exhilarating and frightening is the research discussed in Specter’s paper. The specific part that amazed me was the research going towards eradicating the possibilities of mosquitos being able to carry diseases. I find this so fascinating because I can’t even fathom just how many lives will change if that research becomes reality. Mosquitos carry “dengue fever, which infects as many as 400 million people a year, as well as such increasingly threatening pathogens as chikungunya, West Nile virus, and Zika” (Spencer pg.1). Being able to change the mosquito’s ability to carry all of these very dangerous and deadly viruses could help not only in third world countries where we most often think of mosquitos are a problem, but would also help in America and other 1st world countries. Overall, it’s just fascinating to consider the possible lives we could save by doing this one things with CRISPR technology.

I personally don’t agree with gene editing being done on humans because I am of the mind that there are more options than basically designing the perfect child. If anyone else has seen the movie GATTACA, they might feel the same because that movie shows how the perfect child is treated better than others and I feel that if we started seriously and regularly designing perfect children, down the line, the babies born of love and unknown possibilities would not be seen as good and I feel like we should not force the human race into that sort of situation.

2 thoughts on “Gene Editing is the Spell Check of the Animal Kingdom”

  1. Alex, I share your concern that gene editing could lead to a splitting within societies. In the beginning stages of the technology, the ones who will be able to afford the process will be the elite, leading to a more drastic deviation between the classes. It is our hubris that would lead us down that disastrous path, and in order to use the technology beneficially we must walk a very fine and well defined line. Things like plastic surgery, which can be used for vanity or medical purposes, could give us predictive insight into how our society will use the technology. CRISPR has so much potential good that it would be disappointing if we negated the whole process with our desires for false “perfection”. Diseases could be removed entirely from the genome with a single generation, couples who have genetic disease marks would be able to have children without fear, and more potential is found with this technology.

  2. Hey Alex! I really liked your post. I also chose most of my points from Specter’s article. The part I found fascinating was how they could edit pig organs in order for them to be used in a human body. The mosquito thing was also very cool. I wish we could of heard why that is also freighting! And as for your second paragraph, I agree with you to a point. I do believe gene editing would cause an even bigger gap in social classes, but I argued that not pursuing gene editing would limit the potential of biotechnology. I think we should find a steady balance between using gene editing in humans for medical purposes, such as to prevent a birth defect, but keep it under control when it comes to trying to create “the perfect human”. Good job on your post!

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