Genetic Engineering

By Bianca Amarasekera

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Imagine if the opportunity to select the traits of your unborn baby arose, would you grasp it at the speed of lightning without thinking twice?

Or would you deny the opportunity to prevent the spread of curable diseases?

The on-going ethical question of the acceptance in regards to morality to genetically modify human DNA to create babies is blocking the permission to conduct this procedure, today around the world.

Scientists have recently discovered that they are able to perform a procedure to reform DNA for multiple purposes. When an unborn baby is detected with a disease, scientists have the ability to remove it. This ensures that dismissable diseases are not inherited throughout generations of family. An experiment was performed where couples were recruited and which involved men that had H.I.V in their DNA. Scientists used in vitro fertilization, which resulted in a human embryo that was able to resist the virus that results in AIDS. This is the first of many successes this procedure can lead to.

I personally believe that it is not acceptable to modify the physical characteristics of the child’s DNA for physical appeal, but I approve the procedure for the purpose of eliminating diseases. Eradication of diseases ensures that it would decrease the mortality rate. The value of this would mean that we are able to eliminate more than 10,000 diseases such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s, Tay-Sachs, and early-onset Alzheimer’s. Wiping out these diseases would result in the rapid growth of population among countries that suffer from poverty. Problems such as famine, education, and economic struggles. Let’s use the widespread of the disease malaria in Africa as an example. This parasite affects many children in ways that affect their ability to learn. It affects your ability to process information, you feel awful, and it prevents you from going to school to learn and be productive. A similar situation is also occurring in sub-Saharan Africa, with the outbreak of HIV, which is influencing productivity and development.

Imagine this.

If the world was cleansed and all diseases were wiped out, people in poverty would be able to live productive lives. They could earn a sufficient amount of income which would benefit the community’s economic status and extract the country from poverty. Some infectious diseases lead to death. Let’s picture another scenario. The entire world is born without any problems. Imagine the population of each individual country. The endless possibilities of inventions we can accomplish. Let’s bring back an example from the past. The Industrial Revolution. We were able to create technology and inventions that are currently, the foundations for our modern society. That took a few great minds to generate ideas that are extremely essential to our daily life. Imagine millions and millions of thinkers around the world, that want to create a better world for us with improvement in technologies that would make our lives more efficient. We will create a revolution for the next generations.

Leading onto another pro for the modification of embryos is that the procedure is also optional and not a requirement. It is the parents’ choice if they want to alter their own baby before it is even born and to choose all their traits. Having this procedure as one that is optional, allows the world to be more open to it, as people who support this have the option to try, while others who disagree are not required to engage. The parents can set their own limits. Optional not a requirement.

Others argue that this procedure could create an economic and social gap in society. “Designer” babies would be more skilled and successful. This could create a division in society. People are afraid that most of society would ensure that their child contains traits that have the most advantageous. There is an extremely simple solution to this issue. Laws. The government would create laws that restrict parents from exploiting the procedure. There would be a law which states that modifying DNA is not permissible unless it is for the purpose of abolishing diseases. The situation would be determined by a council that is an expert in Bioethics.

According to the report by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, editing human embryos, sperm or eggs is morally permissible as long as the edit doesn’t jeopardize the welfare of the future person or increase disadvantage, discrimination, or division in society. They have boundaries that the parents would have to follow; therefore they are not able to do whatever they want. Society should not fear the possibilities the future holds, as a separation between classes is not the worse thing that could occur. It is not the procedure that creates the wall between designer and non-designer, it’s the way people perceives the individuals. If society’s perspective is that it is all just one class, then everyone would be treated equally.

The designer baby phenomena are in society’s best interest as the procedure is performed for society to accelerate the progress of growth and expand. We all want the world to become a better place, and not just for ourselves, but for our future generations. Endless possibilities of technology and machinery that could be created, which will allow our world to continue to progress into greater, well-developed society.

 

Work Cited

  1. Belluck, Pam. In Breakthrough, Scientist Edit a Dangerous Mutation from Genes in Human Embryos. The New York Times. August 2, 2017 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/02/science/gene-editing-human-embryos.html
  2. BR in Biomedical. Pros and Cons of Having a Designer Baby. Explore Biotech. March 10, 2017 https://explorebiotech.com/pros-cons-designer-baby/
  3. Houser, Kristin. Creating Genetically Modified Babies is “Morally Permissible,” says Ethics Committee. The Byte. July 17, 2018 https://futurism.com/the-byte/editing-human-embryos-morally-permissible
  4. Kolata, Gina, Wee, Sui-Lee, and Belluck, Pam. Chinese Scientist Claims to Use Crispr to Make First Genetically Edited Babies. The New York Times. November 26, 2018 https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/26/health/gene-editing-babies-china.html
  5. Myers, Jeffrey. “Hacking Humanity: Artificial Intelligence Accelerates CRISPR-Cas9 ‘Gene Editing.’” UNLEASHED, www.jefferymyersunleashed.io/hacking_humanity.
  6. Wolchover, Natalie. “What If We Eradicated All Infectious Disease?” LiveScience. 8 June 2012www.livescience.com/20860-eradicated-infectious-disease.html.