Oh, just another techno-fix

CRISPR technology is undoubtedly a huge success for the field of biology, but a deservingly questionable technology as well. In Specter’s article, even scientists themselves had doubtful thoughts on it: Eric Lander stated “scientists do not have standing to answer these questions and I am not sure who does,” and “you’d better be able to say that society made a choice to do this” (p. 2). I stand with those statements strongly, and my favorite example and most predominant one in media is the work being done with mosquitoes. Of course, it is exhilarating because we hold the power to completely change a population and ultimately change a species’ genes permanently using CRISPR for diseases that affect human’s health and safety, like yellow fever and malaria carried by mosquitoes. That itself, the fact we have that power, is the most exhilarating part of it all. But that’s also what makes it frightening, and that’s why I agree with what Lander stated. There are possibilities of new diseases forming that we have absolutely no cure or protection from, and we don’t know how it would interfere with the environment following its new genes (Specter, p.3). So, considering we have the technology available, it would need to be a societal choice; something that should be voted upon in the future. Because we don’t have the ability to answer the questions. Because it is something we are looking at selfishly. Because it would be the first ever of its kind. Exhilarating and frightening? Absolutely.

I believe gene editing could and should be done on humans at their own risk and cost. If people want a designer baby or want the ability to discontinue a undesirable trait they carry and have the money for it, they should go for it. Humans have the freedom to make decisions at risk and cost. And I think that same mindset should follow for CRISPR. I just don’t agree with CRISPR being used on things that don’t have a voice on it.