New advances in technology have given us the ability to genetically alter the DNA of babies. Previously we were only able to affect the DNA of plant life. However new studies have proven "it could be possible to correct disease genes and pass those genetic fixes onto future generations." Some people are asking if it could also be possible to chose specific traits for a child. The simple answer is yes. With the development of CRISPR we can in theory alter any gene on anything. However what will happen if we actually go through with this and create "designer babies"? It could mean the destruction of humanity or it could bring about a new super race of humans. If we go through with this it's a crime against human dignity and human rights, but could it be worth it?
CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. It can be used to target and alter specific genes. Its basically the thing that makes genetic engineering possible. "CRISPR sequences are transcribed into short RNA sequences capable of guiding the system to matching sequences of DNA." It then cuts the targeted piece of gene off and replaces it. Currently it's only used used to alter the DNA in non-human organisms such as plant life or certain insects. However, in the future there is a likely possibility for it to take part in the genetic alteration of the human genome.
Genetic engineering isn't all sunshine and rainbows. It's not an easy thing to deal with and shouldn't be taken lightly. Although genetic engineering can be beneficial it can also be dangerous and unhealthy. There are many advantages to it such as "faster growth rates". Crops can be engineered to survive in harsher conditions making the jobs of farmers easier and less stressful. However for each advantage there is a disadvantage. Every action that scientists may take in this new process will have a reaction. We need to decide if the risks outweigh the many benefits of genetic engineering.
The risks of genetic engineering may occasionally be exaggerated,however that doesn't mean that the risks aren't present. They are very real and some of them are quite dangerous. "Genetically engineered crops can potentially cause environmental problems that result directly from the engineered traits." These crops can become toxic to wildlife or may just not grow. In some instances certain corps have become immune to pesticides allowing insects access to the plants. Which causes farmers to have spray their crops with stronger chemicals, intern making them unsafe for consumption. In order for us to continue engineering crops and eventually other organisms we need create a healthier system.
"Scientists have figured out how to use a cell's DNA repair mechanisms to spread traits throughout a population." The technology we have now has the potential to erase diseases completely. It can even reengineer entire ecosystems. With gene drives it's easier than ever to do all of this. They make it so we can engineer something in a quarter of the time it took us before. A scientist named Kevin Esvelt wants to modify the malaria-carrying mosquito. This could potentially save millions of lives. This could lead into modifying other things that would make life easier for us. Including our own genes. We could in theory destroys all human weaknesses creating the perfect person and essentially making society stronger.