Do we really live as a completely natural species right now?

In the “Pro and Con” article by Harris and Darnovsky, they both discuss the idea of embryo modification being unnatural. Harris points out that “this argument rests on the premise that natural is inherently good,” (Harris 1). With disease being a natural phenomenon that people widely accept as a negative possibility, the idea of being able to edit this out of the realm of possibility is almost as exciting as it can get. Now, as a counter argument, “making irreversible changes to every cell in the bodies of future children and all their descendants would constitute risky human experimentation,” (Darnovsky 3). Just the thought of how much physical research would have to be done in order to get full approval for such procedures is terrifying. However, looking back on when vaccines were being developed, there were many stages of trial and error. One example currently is the progress towards a vaccine that would slow and/or halt the onset of Huntington’s disease. Why choose to not allow gene editing experiments due to danger of the unknown when we are practicing very similar unnatural experimentation already?

At the moment, I believe it should be allowed. There are many horrible, long, drawn out fatal diseases that could potentially be removed from humans using CRISPR technology. Some of those diseases are caused by one small mutation in a human gene sequence. I think that is where the line should be drawn, though. For an example, I don’t think there should be the choice to “order” an offspring that is taller. Height is determined by numerous gene sequences and the process to set someone’s height would take a long time with much higher risk for accidental alterations. Height is also rarely correlated as a sole factor for a life worse-off.

2 thoughts on “Do we really live as a completely natural species right now?”

  1. Nice blog nick you bring up some really good points. One point that also stuck with me as i read the articles, was the chance of removing fatal diseases. There are pros and cons to such modifications in the human body. But being able to edit those without the danger of the unknown could be risky. Even if we have similar experimentation. I also come at a crossroads with if we should be allowed to have gene editing done on humans. I don’t think we should just because in the long run i do feel like people will lose site of the positive aspect of it. There should be a line drawn.

  2. The ideas you have brought up from this week’s reading as well as your own discussion on the topic are really interesting and enjoyable to think about. I would definitely agree that with the amount of knowledge professionals have of the human genome there could be very positive uses but the “line” may be to difficult for society to agree upon. I believe once we successfully are able to remove a variety of single gene diseases there will be a strong push to continue experimentation and broaden the uses. Wether natural is considered good, bad or something else I still believe disease is an ebb and flow feature which does keep populations at more sustainable sizes. Lastly let me ensure I’m not saying that letting people suffer is sustainable or what I want but determining what diseases (genes) are allowed to be performed on seems like a long road of arguments.

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