The Genetic Code

  1. One of the examples in Specters article talks about about gene drives and the power to edit the genetic code. Specter states “Gene drives have the power to override the traditional rules of inheritance. Ordinarily the progeny of any sexually reproductive animal receives one copy of a gene from each parent. Some genes, however, are “selfish”: Evolution has bestowed on them a better than 50 percent chance of being inherited. Theoretically, scientists could combine CRISPR with a gene drive to alter the genetic code of a species by attaching a desired DNA sequence onto such a favored gene before releasing the animals to mate naturally. Together the tools could force almost any genetic trait through a population” (Specter P.2). This is a very fascinating discovery. The ability to alter the genes of a species and force a genetic trait is very exhilarating. But you can see how it would be frightening as well. Forcing a genetic trait through could make the species down the line look very similar. There’s a naturality to species that shouldn’t be messed with. Even if we are helping it may backfire.  

2. I think gene editing should not be done on humans. One reason being people wanting to make the perfect human being for future generations. I can see the upside to it with people wanting to get rid of diseases and such. But playing with the natural body and choosing what is what is in a way playing with creation. In Harris’s article he has a great point about why it shouldn’t be done. He states “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. We need not and should not risk these outcomes” (Harris p. 4).