|These suckers are getting edited in the UK in human cells.|
The first considerations of genetic therapies arose in 1972, when the first understandings of the human genome was being illuminated. For reference, Watson and Crick discovered the morphology of the DNA molecule in 1953, so these were the pioneering days of the genome. However, these questions asked in 1972 are still around today: Should we make edits to our genome so that the edits can be passed on?
On the one hand, these edits won't cause any harm to anyone. In fact, they'll most likely change lives for the better once they're in place. Humanity has been adapting to its environment in many ways without actual genomic evolution in ways such as building shelters and producing agriculture. Now, we can actually evolve nearly instantly. On an individual level, we can alter our genome to become more fit. In a hypothetical sense, this is the next step that humanity should take in order to better its species.
On the other hand, however, this would lead to evolution being a purchasable product. If the richer people could afford to alter their children's genome, the richer would not only have an inheritance advantage, but also a genetic advantage as well. The idea of the American Dream would be all but crushed, since people would become genetically superior in an objective sense. It would be possible for the elite to modify their children to become perfect specimens of humans. Allergies, certain illnesses and other unwanted features could be permenantly removed from a family line, giving those families advantage upon advantage over the working class.
Is our society ready to have genetic alterations passed on to its offspring? Is this step in the UK a step towards a utopia or a distopia? These questions are coming close to getting an answer, and perhaps we may even get one in this lifetime.
-Ethan Doiron-LaRue (A-1)