Gene Editing

I think gene editing has enormous potential, especially when it comes to altering DNA so that certain insects like mosquitoes can’t carry such deadly diseases. It’s also interesting to hear that maybe genetic defects in humans could be corrected in gene editing and that we already have specific breakthroughs especially in editing certain diseases out of pigs so that their organs would be safe to transplant into humans. These were both mentioned in the DNA Revolution reading, and they both seem like really good things.The drawbacks though are what scares me. We have no idea what drawbacks this kind of power could yield or how deadly they could be to us and to the environment, this is evident in the reading when they talk about how there could be risks associated with releasing insects that have been edited in a lab, but that they feel that not doing it could yield greater consequences. It makes you wonder what makes us so sure that not doing it would be more deadly. If we don’t know how this can affect the environment, how do we know that not releasing genetically modified insects would yield greater consequences?

After doing genetic editing on insects and animals, the next clear step would be to try to do it to humans. I think that genetic alterations on humans could have an enormous potential to do good things, but I also don’t feel like we should do this to every human being. If we could selectively choose “good” genes over “bad” ones, the first clear step would be to remove genetic defects from humans altogether, which is great. But again, we have no idea what the consequences of genetically modifying ourselves are other than the fact that we would have completely removed any genetic defects in our codes. What could removing those defects from our codes do to us in the long run and would it affect our children? It’s that question which makes me wary of genetic alterations. Right now, I’m going to say no, I don’t think that gene editing should be done on people. I want to be sure of the effects before we do anything rash, and it makes me feel weird that we have no idea the magnitude of what we could potentially do with this technology.