About this sample
About this sample
Words: 824 |
5 min read
Published: Aug 16, 2019
Words: 824|Pages: 2|5 min read
The question on every scientists mind today: Should CRISPR be used to enhance the genes of our progeny, who would then pass it on to the generations that follow? Examining cases where this has caused agitation during several debates, it is quite clear that gene editing relates to different factors, such as: ethics, expenses, risks to human health, and ultimately the notions of disparity among our future population.
The recent subject making rounds in international media is the latest gene-editing technique, CRISPR/Cas9. Although this machinery may change the face of science for the years to come – with its ability to cure congenital disorders and elaborate our knowledge of the human genome – its criticism is related to subjects like the moral decay of man and the safety hazards linked to it. Higher authorities in different parts of the world have independently reached a conclusion pertaining to the use of CRSIPR in their country, with many of them stepping back from the idea of operating it due to foreseeable consequences. CRISPR, just like any other latest medical therapies, poses a major ethical concern. Many worry that if it is used for gene-enhancement purposes rather than medical-related treatments, it would eventually lead to a society filled with “designer babies”. This in turn would cause disparity amongst the population as the entire society would be occupied by people of genetic haves and have-nots, as the low class would not be able to afford such treatments, and therefore carry non-engineered genes.(Lewis, 2015, no pagination) This issue could be associated with an apparition of eugenics, which is the racist practice of choosing who should and should not be embraced in a population due to their hereditary qualities.
A historian of Sciences, Daniel Kevles, at the University of New York brought forward the reminder that Eugenics has been practiced everywhere, by stating: “Eugenics was not unique to the Nazis.” Adding, “it could – and did – happen everywhere.”. Eugenics is likely to cause dispute amongst communities and eventually bloodshed because of discriminations against unwanted groups of people in the society (Lewis, 2015, no pagination). History proves this as the German Nazis terrorised those who did not fall under the “race”, the Aryans. Certain religious beliefs also circle around the abstinence of CRISPR usage. Some experts argue that enhancing an embryos germline by technical means relates to disregarding Gods creations as it changes what God has already instilled for the specific being. This raises concerns about the fact that people have morally decayed to such a point that they abuse the creation of the Almighty just to achieve something that suits them. It would be horrific to see people competing over which people get born. Parents should learn to love their children irrespective of how they look, behave or perform (King, 2017, no pagination).Apart from the ethical concerns, CRIPSR may be a financial burden to many underdeveloped countries, if applied.
However, many first-world countries would prefer having it as it would make a better name for them around the world due to being advanced in the medical field. Science writer and New York Times columnist, Carl Zimmer debated about the introduction of CRISPR in an interview with Business Insider: “I haven’t seen anybody give a legitimate medical reason [for using CRISPR in human embryos] that couldn’t be achieved through medical means.”. Why exhaust money on something unreliable when there are several inexpensive and secure ways of treating the same disorder? Methods that were used in the past to treat congenital disorders – and are still being used today – are in-vitro fertilisation and preimplantation genetic screening (Lewis, 2015, no pagination). In April of 2015, Chinese scientists conducted an experiment which resulted in commotion because they had used CRISPR on non-viable embryos to try and mend a fatal blood disorder, known as beta thalassemia. The commotion was because of the “off-target” effects that CRISPR had on the genome of the embryos. Thus, it further convinced the public that this technique is not yet reliable enough to be worked on humans (Lewis, 2015, no pagination). The irrecoverable changes to the genome is an undeniable threat.
The pass-down of these man-mutated genes could lead to the following generations suffering as well. There are ample risk-free methods of preventing further harm to any being. Of the lot, one of them is to get sperm and egg donors from people who don’t have a history of genetic diseases in their family line. This way, it would be more reliable and guaranteed that one gets a mutation-free offspring. (Darnovsky, 2016, no pagination)Thus, it is clear that giving humans the authority to genetically engineer human embryos would lead to an ungovernable use of CRISPR for gene enhancement purposes, rather than using it solely to eradicate certain genetic diseases that are detected before birth of the child. This would further complicate already existing discreteness, inequality, and strife. We should not – and never shall – be ready to face such threats.
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