Where Do We Draw the Line with Gene Editing

For a long time now, I have known that CRISPR technology was highly debated on whether we can ethically use it, however, I never understood what the CRISPR technologies actually were until these readings. One thing that I found extremely interesting in the readings was how Michael Specter talks about the non human uses of CRISPR-Cas9 technology. He talks about how Anthony Jame’s research is primarily on how to prevent mosquitoes from spreading diseases that can cause extreme harm to humans, and with the Cas9 advancements, his work in not theoretical, but applicable(Specter, pg 1). If the technology can be used to prevent mosquitoes from transmitting diseases, then maybe it can be used on other organisms to prevent them too from spreading diseases. However, this could also start the ethical debate on how far do we tamper with organisms with this technology. We would in start playing god by manipulating living creatures around us, which raises some eyebrows by some people.

This also leads us to whether or not gene manipulation should be used on humans. This is a question that I have struggled with the most out of all the questions we have been asked in this class thus far. That being said, I think that gene editing should be done on humans, but only to a certain extent. I don’t think that it should be used to get specific desirable traits in our children. After so many generations, we could end up with a very stale society, where each and every person has all the most desirable traits, and there would be less, “this is what makes me different from everyone else” traits. However, I do think that practical uses can be applied to humans. Like with what Jame is attempting to do with mosquitoes, if we were able to use gene editing to prevent harmful diseases from spreading, then I think the technologies should be applied.

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