DNA editing. Will it end of disease?

  • Scientists have, for the first time, successfully freed embryos of a piece of faulty DNA that causes deadly heart disease to run in families.


    It potentially opens the door to preventing 10,000 disorders that are passed down the generations.

    BBC Article

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    This sounds very exciting and if there is a way to prevent future generations from getting disease, I'm all for it. With a few caveats, though.


    The first is the designer baby fear. Those that can afford techniques such as this, may not only use it to to edit out disease, but could edit out other "undesirable" things as well and thus create designer babies who all look perfect, are intelligent and are super athletic.


    The other concern is with the method itself, it's called Crispr. My limited understand of this topic which I've read about says that there is more that one way to do editing of genes and Crispr is a accelerated way of doing things, perhaps even rushed. Could it therefore be dangerous?

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  • I think designer babies are inevitable. Probably not in the well regulated West but elsewhere the pressure will be too great for those with a few quid. At least we will be eradicating disease in the meantime...

  • I suppose if we have perfectly looking, healthy, intelligent and athletic people who can speak foreign languages, play musical instruments, are creative, skilful etc etc, I "guess" that is not such a bad thing. But, where will it end?


    Some parents might want their perfect child "more" perfect than the next one, so a bit of DNA editing becomes altering and then the scientists start fiddling with it all and mixing it all around in a bowl until we get, what?


    I don't think science knows anyway near enough about DNA and if they start altering it, it may have a domino effect. Beside, a DNA strand may do more than one thing or effect more than one thing, so when a "faulty" gene is removed, that gene may do other, as yet unknown things in the body, so deleting/editing genes could have unforeseen consequences.

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  • It's interesting, to me anyway, that the Gundam animé addresses so many of our issues, in this case Seed and Seed Destiny:


    Quote

    The series is the first of the Gundam franchise set in the "Cosmic Era" in which mankind is divided between normal Earth dwelling humans, known as "Naturals", and the genetically altered super-humans known as "Coordinators". The primary conflict of the story plot derives from jealous hatred by Naturals of the abilities of Coordinators, leading to hate crimes, and eventually the emigration of almost all Coordinators who flee into space to live idyllic lives on giant orbital space colonies called PLANTS of their own design. War eventually breaks out between Earth and the Plants.


    Gundam wiki


    Would the human race divide along these lines if genetic modification got out of control?


    As a follow on I think that being able to cure some of the most debilitating genetic diseases has to be a good thing. But the question is how much should we cure? Blindness, deafness, bunions?

    History is much like an Endless Waltz. The three beats of war, peace and revolution continue on forever.

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