Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Gene Editing: Pros, Cons, Side Effects (In Humans)


       First of all, what is gene editing? In 2018, a request was approved to modify the genetic sequence of human embryos. The gene editing technique was give the name CRISPR-Cas9. This means that it can modify and "fix' disease causing genes in the embryo, and therefore have it be gone for future descendants as well. This was a huge breakthrough, but it is very controversial. Let's begin with the pros of gene editing. CRISPR can locate and kill cancer cells. It is also very helpful in drug research, and researchers are using it to speed up the drug discovery process. It can also stop diseases from getting passed down to the offspring. Overall, with gene editing, life can be expanded. It is also used in crops and food production, but that would be a whole other blog post. Now let's get into the cons. Many people see gene editing as unethical. It gives humans almost too much power. People have even called it "playing God". The claim is that diseases are natural, and natural is better. The earth is also already overpopulated, so it would create even more social issues if everyone was kept alive longer. Eventually, there just would not be enough food and resources. Also, it is still not completely safe to do. Gene editing at the cellular level could lead to unexpected results and even miscarriage and stillbirth. And lastly, genetically engineering a species would lead to no diversity, which is a major key to evolution on earth. I think that with proper restrictions, gene editing could be a beautiful gift to humans, as long as it is not taken advantage of. 

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