The example that stood out to me most was regarding mosquitoes in Specter’s National Geographic article. The fact that we may be able to eradicate horrific diseases like Zika astounds me, especially because it’s not even something we’re changing about ourselves. Making the carrier of the disease resistant to it is genius, and if successful, continents of people could live happier, healthier lives. The thing that Specter does mention that I find frightening is the idea of shifting DNA between species and causing an unexpected disease to transfer. The worst-case scenario here would be a disease that we have never as a species seen before, and as a result we have literally nothing to protect ourselves against it with. However, if it were up to me, this risk is worth the benefits of eradicating current diseases.
Short answer, yes. The questions that are more difficult for me to answer are WHEN gene editing should be done, and to what extent? Regarding the “when,” editing done for an adult can change their current cells to get rid of certain diseases and disorders. I am 100% in support of doing this as soon as we can make sure it’s safe. Editing an embryo however permanently changes the genetics of that human and any spawn of that human forever. I am less sold on this idea but could still perhaps be convinced with more information. As for how much we edit, I think that for now we need to stick with making sick people healthy. Gene editing in this manner could be considered highly effective surgery or treatment and only aims to bring everyone up to the level of a typical healthy human. Editing to make humans “superior” right now is something that I see as bad in every way. The imbalance in society would only widen because only the highest and most powerful class could afford to be made “better.” If it were something that could be done universally for all humans, I’m all for it. But until that point, no.