Hacking Humanity

It isn’t the only the unknown consequences that startle us the most about advancements such as CRISPR, but also the often over exaggerated possibilities.  Many articles have been written about these concerns, including the ones read this week. One article, by John Harris, discusses the possibility of “playing God”, which can either be an exhilarating or frightening aspect depending on your opinions.  In reality, we already have a fair amount of internal guidance in choosing a partner, based upon their features and personality, but CRISPR introduces the possibility of correcting for unseen issues. The exhilarating possibility of alleviating potentially life altering, or even fatal, diseases prior to birth is fantastic and I believe is a proper use of the technology.  However, excessive editing to engineer the “perfect” child can result in some frightening impacts to society and what we deem most important. Beauty or brains, green eyes or blue, and so forth, these external alterations would be taking the technology to a frighteningly powerful position. Additionally, it is possible that more extreme viewed couples could take further measures to build their perfect offspring,  with racist or homophobic parents trying to alleviate genes indicative of other races or orientations.

CRISPR has incredible potential, but as I highlighted above the consequences and advantages of gene editing must be carefully considered.  The social implications of the availability of the technology may lead to further dividing between the classes. Gene editing that is used to alleviate fatal and life altering genetically linked diseases is very important and will introduce a new method for humans to direct their own evolution.  If the technology is taken further and used to edit not life altering features, hair color, eye color, height, etc, it can lead to a lose in the diversity and uniqueness that makes us human.

1 thought on “Hacking Humanity”

  1. Kendra, I completely agree with you that the possibility of eliminating diseases that cause suffering is a fantastic idea but the idea that people could use this technology to create the “perfect” child is frightening. I think you made a great point that extreme couples could go to drastic measures as to alleviate genes related to different races or orientations. Overall I thought your blog post was great and had several completely valid and reasonable points about why CPISPR technology should be carefully considered before being used on humans. If we were to use CRISPR technology we could make important progress in alleviating diseases but at the same time could be creating a loss of diversity.

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