Wednesday, March 13, 2019

lions, and tigers and gene-edited babies... oh my!

According to Science Magazine, there is currently a debate going on internationally about whether or not a global moratorium should be put in place to ban gene editing on sperm, eggs and embryos. Ideally scientists want to use germline editing to correct heritable diseases and therefore have gene-altered babies. In theory this sounds like a wonderful idea by correcting diseases such as Tay Sachs. However,  He Jiankui wants to genetically alter babies for other reasons. Late last year he announced that he used CRISPR to genetically alter babies in order for them to be resistant to AIDS virus, which is not a heritable disease. This sparked controversy around the world in regards to ethics and what genes should and should not be altered.

Some scientists feel there shouldn't be a moratorium since some countries already have some sort of this ban already in place while others feel it needs to be recognized worldwide. Other scientists also feel there should be some sort of framework implemented in regards to gene editing human babies. It's really hard to say if there should or shouldn't be germline editing in humans. On one hand it could benefit people with heritable diseases and can lessen the burden on families. On the other hand, it can be like going to the candy store and picking out your favorite candies but instead it will be your "perfect" child and it can come with other side affects too down the road that we just don't know about yet. 

1 comment:

  1. As the years go on, technology is going to become more and more powerful. Gene editing has been a hot topic for quite some time now and it is only going to get bigger in the future. I think that even if the world together decides to not use this type of technology for gene editing, there will always be that one country or scientists that will not follow the rules that were set by the rest of the world. I think that if we completely shut off this option to everyone, people will still try to do this in private and possibly increase the dangers. I think that this technology is worth it to discover how gene editing could improve our world. However, there does need to be some guidelines set so that scientists will know when they need to take a step back and re-evaluate their motives and goals.