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CRISPR IS COMING! ARE YOU READY?

WELCOME!

This page is all about CRISPR and evaluating its future possibilities. Here you will be presented with a basic overview, and then will be immersed in the land of possibilities. You will get to vote for whether you believe something is ethical and should be pursued, or whether it isn’t ethical and should not be pursued. You may even think something isn’t ethical, but should be pursued for the sake of us all. I will also focus on using the four bioethical terms we’ve focused on applying to our work: autonomy, beneficence, maleficence, and justice. Welcome to CRISPR.

What is CRISPR?

If you have time, this is an awesome podcast!

THE FUTURE DILEMMAS

the cure to all diseases and creating immunity

Using CRISPR there is the ability to edit genes, which can lead to the creation of immunity in humans and even animals. Check out this article about cows that were successfully immunized to TB using CRISPR.

Link: https://www.biomedcentral.com/about/press-centre/science-press-releases/01-02-17

It shows the positive side to making change in helping all of us cure ourselves of the world’s deadliest diseases. However, the article also mentions a need to be meticulous. If anything goes wrong, there is also the potential to create a super deficiency that could render the human race weak. Another potential issue is who gets immunized? At the beginning this will surely be a have vs. have not case because as usual treatment will start extremely expensive, before becoming more mainstream. Most humans in the right state of mind, would have the autonomy to choose complete immunization for themselves. However, the possible side effects could be very harmful to themselves and to society. How would we decide what immunizations children needed before going to school? It would be interesting to see if immunizations had to be through vaccination or if it was suggested that the DNA of the kids was actually modified.

designer babies

Imagine being able to choose the gender or looks of a child? It may seem slightly harmless at first, but it could lead to some serious racism and ethical issues. It would change the direction of looks for the human race. It could seriously change races and create more problems for society. Based on autonomy, people would be allowed to choose for themselves as to whether they wanted to edit their genes. It would be their choice on the color of their child’s skin and how intelligent it will grow to be. However, this will bring into effect a whole new set of ethical dilemmas that just may be more harmful than good for society. The people who could afford to have their child’s genetics be edited so that they were smarter most likely would go through with the procedure. However, those who could not afford it, where would they be? Stuck in a society where others are genetically modified to be smarter than them. How would that make you feel? Imagine that extrapolated to an entire country divided. This isn’t the only shift we would see, certain looks would also be preferred, which would lead to increased racism and even more division between the haves and have-nots. Maleficence may out way the beneficence. Later justice will come into play in many ways. Is it fair to support a society that divides individuals drastically? I think not. But then the issue is what attempts will be made to make society more equal for everyone? Designer babies pose a large issue for our future because they will help and harm society at the same time.

Further reading: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/jan/08/designer-babies-ethical-horror-waiting-to-happen

So is this the end of natural evolution? Who knows

Since Darwin theorized evolution, humans have made great advances at investigating and proving the theory. With the addition of CRISPR, how will evolution continue to play a role? If humans can advance at freewill, how will natural evolution continue to play a role? What could be the dangers of a future world, where we are in control of our genome? These are questions you must ask yourself. Now after thinking about this should CRISPR be implemented to our society, and how so? Comment below!

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COMMENTS: 4
  1. April 30, 2018 by Alexandria.Rickett

    Hi! This whole ethical conundrum is so conflicting! In my biology class, as a project, we theoretically used CRISPR to cure cancer by inserting a certain gene in people that helps elephants stay healthy. So in that aspect if that is possible it could say hundreds of lives and be a very cool and life changing invention. However, the picture perfect babies are something that I don’t think is ethically ok. Like you talk about, evolution is all we’ve known and its scary to mess with.

    • May 04, 2018 by sofia

      Hi Alexandra,

      That’s so awesome that you are studying this in your biology class, and what an interesting application. I really like how your biology class such a specific, yet super applicable thing. It seems that you really understand how crazy cool, yet possibly dangerous this could be!

  2. April 30, 2018 by Rachel Dauby

    This is pretty cool! I’ve always been interested in CRISPR-CAS 9 and the video you embedded was very informative, thank you!

    • May 04, 2018 by Sofia

      Hi Rachel,

      I’m so glad that the video was helpful! I spent a lot of time looking for something that introduced the actual science behind CRISPR, but also let on a little about the possibilities. Thanks for your comment!

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