I Wish the Right Decision was Clearer, CRISPR

The introduction of CRISPR into the scientific repertoire of technological fixes, brings with it various pros and cons. For example, in the case of the Zika virus, which captured the headlines of the world over, CRISPR technology could be used to prevent the spread of disease. Not just ZIka, but dengue, malaria and other mosquito borne illnesses could prevented with a “simple” editing of some mosquito genes. By making the species of mosquito responsible for the spread of these diseases, we could potentially save millions of human lives. That’s the positive. The negatives include the ecological, ethical and even cultural effects. While progress can’t truly and entirely be made in a laboratory setting, the far reaching consequences of the sterilization and subsequent extinction of an entire species, shouldn’t be a testing ground for new technology. Besides what might happen to the environment with the implementation, the ethical implications might lead to setting a dangerous precedent with far reaching cultural changes. (Harris and Darnovsky, Specter)

Personally, I think that gene editing would be a huge step forward in terms of progress. Despite the the enormity of problems facing CRISPR, the biggest one seems to the scale of any potential consequences. Harris and Darnovsky, more specifically Darnovsky, implies that any foot in the door gene editing that is done, would lead to a sort of cascade effect. She goes so far as to state “Permitting human germline gene editing for any reason would likely lead to its escape from regulatory limits, to its adoption for enhancement purposes, and to the emergence of a market-based eugenics that would exacerbate already existing discrimination, inequality, and conflict.” (Harris and Darnovsky) As stated above, progress in a subject can’t be made entirely in a laboratory setting, the natural world is too complicated for us to simulate at present. That being said, if we could somehow confine our first foray into gene editing, I think that would be best. (Harris and Darnovsky)

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