The (not so) Golden Age of Golden Rice

The story I found most enticing was that of the golden rice. The text states that approximately 500,000 children living in third-world countries go blind as a result of not receiving enough vitamin A. However, through genetic editing and selection, it’s possible to engineer a strain of rice that produces vitamin A in abundance and can be consumed without consequence (Specter 3). But as a result of people who do not believe in the potential of GMOs, none has been manufactured en mass. I find this to be exhilarating because it shows the potential that genetic engineering has to vastly improve the welfare of massive amounts of people, and the means to do it through work with plants is already available. However, it is slightly terrifying as well for a number of reasons. Firstly, there groups of people who are purposefully stopping the commercial production of these organisms for those less fortunate, which is difficult to comprehend. Secondly, it is hard to predict what the future consequences of relating plant genetic modification to other creatures or humans, and whether there will be enough positive effects to outweigh the potential negatives.
I am very conflicted on the topic of genetic editing as it is applied to humans. It is hard to deny the responsibility of our generation to push the scientific boundaries in the name of better and healthier lives for those farther down the line, but it is also our responsibility to make sure that we do not cross a threshold with potentially disastrous consequences that cannot be taken back. While the readings cite that it is unlikely that groups meaning to do great harm would take the time to find ways to genetically engineer humans, it is a borderline naive point to make. Throughout history there have been an incredible number of groups, political parties, and countries that have had incredible amounts of capital and scientific resources at their disposal that do not look to better the human race in a logical way. For now, I would have to say that genetic editing should be kept away from humans until it can be further understood and regulated.

Leave a Reply