Editing the Gene

CRISPR Technology is one of the newer technologies out there. It also happens to have the most upside and potentially the most downside. The ability to edit the genome of creatures and humans can have countless positive effects on their ecosystems and the world in general. Specter sums it up well, “CRISPR places an entirely new kind of power into human hands. For the first time, scientists can quickly and precisely alter, delete, and rearrange the DNA of nearly any living organism, including us.” (Specter 1) This gives us the power to do many things like edit out undesirable traits in humans and more practically attempt to edit out diseases from species that are known carriers, like Mosquitoes and malaria. Ridding the world of dangerous diseases like malaria, zika, and dengue would be monumental steps for the health of the human world. Also being able to do things like transplant animal organs to humans and ridding the world of the need for pesticides. The obvious downside is how unethical it can seem. The idea of editing the human genome is a step many people would consider unethical. Being able to edit out undesirable traits and diseases that have been naturally occurring for thousands of years is seen by some as a step humans shouldn’t make. It can also be seen in the same light as eugenics, attempting to make “the perfect human”.

I don’t think we should be editing the human genome at this time. I think we need to fully grade this technology and figure out every aspect of it. We need to understand this technology completely before we start editing and altering the human genome. I think we need to fully understand the technology and push the envelope on things like breeding disease out of mosquitoes and ridding the world of the need for pesticides. An ethical discussion needs to be had as well. There are many unforeseen and unintended consequences that could become a problem from editing the human genome. We not only need to be aware of them but we need to understand what we are getting into and understand the great power that could potentially be at our fingertips.