The Gene Conundrum


To preface, my viewpoint of gene modification is largely skewed by the fact that I have never been threatened by deadly virus outbreaks or not had proper access to medical facilities, not to mention health insurance, and not experienced cognitive or physical disability of my own.  I have thought often about how allowing humans the opportunity to edit genes would quickly create a further separation in equality across different ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and geographical location of peoples; summarizing this well Darnovsky writes, “Permitting human germline gene editing for any reason would likely lead to its escape from regulatory limits, to its adoption for enhancement purposes, and to the emergence of a market-based eugenics that would exacerbate already existing discrimination, inequality, and conflict.” (Darnovsky) Of course I find the idea of not fearing aggressive disease upon any humans or the possibility to make sure my child will not be born with a disability that could cause a lifetime of difficulty, but I just don’t think humans are ready to open this door of no return.

I certainly am not against the idea of gene editing for certain purposes, but as I previously mentioned I do not believe that humans are ready for this next step in our history. We humans have proved to be an extremist species; once we discover an innovation it consumes all fields of thought until we have taken it to the greatest perceivable extent. This is one of our most remarkable and unique attributes as well which is why it is difficult to develop a concise opinion whether or not we should begin editing genes on a larger scale. I certainly believe that for the sake of those who have suffered or are suffering or will suffer from a gene that could be edited, this would be a tremendous step forward. I simply worry about the controls loosening.