How to Edit a Greater Good

CRISPR technology allows scientists the power to correct and delete genes in order to cure disease, fight pests, save extinct species, and transplant organs.  CRISPR is an extremely versatile tool that can be used for a lot of good, however, many people are also cautious about its use and the unpredictable number of unintended consequences it may bring.  James Clapper, U.S. director of national intelligence warns against CRISPR technology as possible weapons of mass destruction (Specter p.5). It can be seen how CRISPR technology can be used as a bioweapon in spreading disease in the same way that it cures it.  Anthony James has researched ways to manipulate mosquito genes so that the insect can no longer spread disease (Specter p. 1).  However,  there is little that would prevent a malicious user to manipulate mosquito genes in order to introduce new disease in much the same way.

Similar to technologies before it, CRISPR technology introduces new consequences, both intended and unintended; the scope of which remain unpredictable as too little is known about the genome of species.  CRISPR is an extremely versatile tool that is capable of both great good and great evil. However, similar again to technologies before it, people will use CRISPR regardless of whether the consequences are known (Specter p. 5).  Both inaction and action on using CRISPR technology may cost many lives and it becomes a difficult choice to decide whether it should even be used, but if that technology will someday be used, possibly for great evil, regardless of our choices today then in my opinion it is in our best interest to use it in order to both better understand CRISPR technology and possibly create countermeasures and to save all the lives we can today. In the end, whether CRISPR technology is used for evil or a greater good may just depend on our intentions as a species.

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