Too preoccupied with could we, didn’t stop and ask should we

“Gene drives have the power to override the traditional rules of inheritance (Specter, p. 2).” Man, that packs a lot of power. First of all, lots of good things can come from using CRISPR. We can eradicate diseases. We can save species. We can change certain aspects of species. The one that I am most fascinated about is the diseases. As a society, we could prevent millions of deaths from diseases transported by mosquitoes (Specter). We could even prevent inheritable diseases or random mutations in the human genome, such as muscular dystrophy (Specter). So, we make a world disease free. Death rates go down. Animals and people living longer. More babies being born each year. Earth gets crowded. Uh oh. Now what do we do? This is the bad of this technology. We keep finding ways to make life better, safer, longer, but we do not think of the consequences. Nature will probably come up with a way to fix the mess. But will it be too late?

I do not think gene editing should be done on humans. Sure, I can see lots of bonuses for humans being “fixed” or born a certain way. However, where would society stop once given this power? Even from an economic standpoint this is bad. Those with the money to make sure their child is born to look a certain way or have a better chance of living longer will give those children an advantage over those not born with the fix. That means the upper class will stay the upper class and the lower class will stay as the lower class. There may even be a bigger gap between the classes. Shouldn’t we keep it equal (or nearly equal in a world of inequality)?

1 thought on “Too preoccupied with could we, didn’t stop and ask should we”

  1. I totally agree with your concerns! However, I think we have started the snowball of genetic experimentation and I don’t see it stopping anytime soon. We are going to have to embrace it, including it’s downsides, because everyone else will be using it. What I mean by everyone else is other countries, for example I don’t think China or Russia would hesitate to alter humans genetically if it meant long term benefits for their country and citizens. I’m not saying these countries are any more or less ethical but I do know they are very competitive, and they are interested in having the power we do in the U.S. According to Bill Gates, the healthier a population, the lower the birthrate. This has to do with many factors, but one of them being quality of life. You don’t need a dozen kids if there is infrastructure to support you instead. So I think that the concern of overpopulation is overstated and ultimately other challenges such as unintended consequences of gene manipulation will be more urgent.

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