Gene Editing

Should the Government Stop You from Gene Editing Your Kids?

Ordering people to reproduce in only government approved ways is tyrannical and unethical.

|

GeneEditKids
florida.gov

State-mandated eugenics is evil. This is the lesson that we should all have learned from the compulsory sterilization laws adopted by 30 U.S. states in the early 20th century and, most certainly, from the horrors of the Nazi sterilization and genocide campaigns. Yet eugenic logic is alive and well today.

In the old days, eugenicists justified restrictions on reproduction by arguing that we need to weed out people with unhealthy traits and thus protect the greater health of society. In 1927, for example, the U.S. Supreme Court infamously ruled in Buck v. Bell that the state of Virginia could force a poor woman to be sterilized. In his decision, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes declared: "It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind."

In an ironic ethical twist, this eugenic reasoning has been turned on its head in the early 21st century. Contemporary eugenicists want to use government power to prevent people from using modern biotech methods to help them to bear children who are unburdened of inherited disease and debility. This modern prohibition is also justified on the grounds that it is needed to protect the greater health of society.

For example, the progressive Center for Genetics and Society opposes genetic modifications of embryos because they might result in "irreversible harms to the health of future children and generations" and would "inscribe inequality onto the human genome." In 2015, the Center joined with the Friends of the Earth to call for "national and international prohibitions on the use of gene editing and synthetic biology to alter the human germ line for reproductive purposes." The Council for Responsible Genetics once proposed a Genetic Bill of Rights that states, "All people have the right to have been conceived, gestated, and born without genetic manipulation."

Germ line is scientific jargon for eggs and sperm, which combine to form embryos. In both the old days and today, eugenicists have claimed that government should have the power to decide which germ lines should be and not be permitted to go forward. In other words, they think governments should have the right to decide who can have children and what sort of children they can have.

The advent of fantastically versatile, precise, and easy-to-use CRISPR gene-editing technology has incited an enormous amount of bioethical handwringing over the prospect of germ line modifications in human embryos.

The recent International Summit on Human Gene Editing in Washington, D.C., issued a statement declaring that research that involves making genetic changes in human embryos can go forward, but that such embryos should not be used to establish a pregnancy. The argument is not just that the process is not yet safe. We need, the statement says, to "consider implications for both the individual and the future generations who will carry the genetic alterations," along with the possibility of "exacerbat[ing] social inequities."

In February, British fertility specialists received regulatory permission to experiment using CRISPR to edit human embryos, yet the embryos must be destroyed after seven days of development. The requirement to destroy gene-edited human embryos has provoked Brendan Foht, an associate editor at the neoconservative journal The New Atlantis, to ask, "Why are we telling scientists to destroy human life?"

Foht evidently believes that because all people were once embryos, all embryos are people. Since it is unlikely that that debate can be resolved here, let's set it aside. The rest of Foht's argument is worth considering regardless of how you feel about when personhood begins.

"The idea that we must kill human embryos to preserve the integrity of the human germ line," Foht astutely observes, "bears a troubling similarity to the moral reasoning of the advocates of eugenic sterilization, who believed that killing individuals was worthwhile if it protected the human species as a whole. These scientists elevated abstractions such as the human gene pool above their obligations to individual human beings and families." Yes, it does and they did.

Unfortunately, Foht then buys into the notion that it is somehow ethically probative that embryos "cannot consent to the risks involved" in having their broken genes fixed or improved genes added. Once again, I remind everyone that "not one of us now living was asked to give our consent to be born, much less to be born with the complement of randomly conferred genes that we carry." Children born through gene editing therapies and those produced more conventionally stand in exactly the same ethical relationship to their parents.

Instead of "inscribing inequality," modern gene-editing techniques will give parents the option to confer on their children the same genes for good health and smarter brains that other children get randomly now. As I have earlier explained, "Safe affordable genetic medical technologies in an increasingly wealthy society are a recipe for eliminating genetic inequalities rather than perpetuating or exacerbating them."

Twentieth-century eugenicists used government power to forcibly prevent parents from passing on traits they deemed deleterious. Now 21st-century eugenicists contend the government should require parents to risk passing along genes that the parents think are deleterious to their children, whether they want to or not. What sort of horrors are parents who want to take advantage of modern gene editing likely to impose on their hapless offspring? Fixing genes that increase the risk of ill health and perhaps adding those that boost their chances of having more vigorous bodies, nimbler brains, and greater disease resistance.

Individuals may not always make the right decisions with regard to reproduction, but parents are more trustworthy guardians of the human gene pool than any would-be eugenicist central planners. Government diktats about what sort of children people can have are always wrong.

Disclosure: The editors at The New Atlantis have from time to time very generously published various articles by me.

NEXT: Chris Christie Throws His Weight Behind Donald Trump Campaign

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. We can’t even edit our comments and you think we’re going to gene edit our kids?

  2. Yes.

    Being a bioethicist is easy.

    1. Wai, the blog headline question is different than this headline. Well, Im going with the same answer even though they contradict each other.

  3. If you edit your kids genes, are they really your kids?

    1. If you adopted a kid, is he really your kid?

      1. Of course they are, but they aren’t you genetic material though

        1. Does that matter?

          1. If you want to harvest them for organs it does.

            1. What if you just want to eat them?

              1. You know who else wanted to eat their kids?

                  1. Uh…yeah.

                    This one is over, folks.

                    1. Yeah. That wasn’t much fun.

              2. Only the anti-GMO idiots think that eating the wrong kind of DNA can hurt you.

            2. Nah, you just edit that in while you’re changing the code. You could probably make the organs more compatible.

            3. Nah, you just edit that in while you’re changing the code. You could probably make the organs more compatible.

              1. And with squirrels, you get multiple organs

  4. I guess we know where Ron stands on the Nonidentity problem. Why do you hate the nonexistent children, Ron?

    1. Because they don’t read books?

      1. Because they don’t buy books…

  5. Is it possible to edit your kid’s genes post high school graduation?

    Asking for a friend.

    1. You want to edit your friend’s high school kid’s genes?

    2. It will be. Post birth gene editing therapy is definitely an area being studied to cure diseases like cystic fibrosis and of course cancer.

      1. I feel we don’t talk about male pattern baldness enough.

  6. Is gene editing equivalent to circumcision or ear piercing?

    1. I suspect that the crowd which is all ok with circumcision (while somehow managing to oppose abortion and some forms of contraception) will be against this. Helpful chart below.

      Killing an Organism without consciousness (no differentiated neural tissue): Murder.

      Mutilating a perfectly fine organism with consciousness for supersitious reasons: Just peachy, perhaps even required.

      Editing the genes of an organism: Abomination.

      1. What if you’re for ALL of those things?

      2. If I shouldn’t surgically remove my kid’s foreskin, should I edit my kid’s genes so he never grows a foreskin?

        1. Build some holes into the earlobes for jewelry to hang from while you’re at it.

        2. Or this one:

          If I shouldn’t surgically remove my kid’s clitoris, should I edit my kid’s genes so she never grows a clitoris?

          What about the radical deaf loonies who want to punch out their kid’s eardrums so he can grow up deaf and be a part of deaf culture? How do we tell them “no, you can’t do that surgically”, but “yes, you can edit his genes so he is born deaf”.

          Amazingly, its already apparently happening, and has been for over a decade:

          Wanting to have children who follow in one’s footsteps is an understandable desire. But a coming article in the journal Fertility and Sterility offers a fascinating glimpse into how far some parents may go to ensure that their children stay in their world ? by intentionally choosing malfunctioning genes that produce disabilities like deafness or dwarfism.

          http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12…..5essa.html

          1. Some days, I hate people.

          2. Hi RC Dean,
            Yes, a few years ago I read about deaf parents who object to ear surgery to fix hearing problems in young babies, because doing so is “genocide on the deaf”? Reducing the number of deaf kids is genocide!
            Well, I object to improved automotive and highway safety technologies, because a reduced number of auto accidents reduces the number of cripples in our society, and so, is “genocide on cripples”.
            At about the 95% +++ seriousness level (just a wee tad of hyperbole thrown in, barely maybe), this is my nightmare vision of “GE improvements to humans” in the future, deviating from our society’s espoused values, only maybe 0.00345% or so, who knows?
            People who glorify depression and suicide? Curt Cobain of “Nirvana” lusted after being a glorious suicide, is what I have read? Will want their kids to be “just like me”? Here, genetic engineer, PLEASE maximize the GLORIOUS tendencies towards self-pityingly morose depression and suicide in my offspring? As soon as they are born, I can then GLORIOUSLY punch my own ticket, and let the rest of you raise my suicidally-programmed offspring?

            1. “Goths” will want GE-designed human vampires with sharp-sharp, long-long teeth, and a genetically programmed LUST for human blood?
              Parasites everywhere will want to have GE-designed “basket babies” on rows and rows on the shelf, just barely human, conscious or not, comatose if they qualify for welfare that way is best, for requiring minimal care? So as to maximize their take-home welfare check!
              Just like people think it is “cute” to breed crippled cats (floppy joints, no hair, etc.), some will think it “cute” to have GE babies with tiny flipper hands and flipper feet? OH, SOOO cute?
              In reaction to this, all the rest of us will be forbidden to use GE to eliminate genetic diseases, and to have more healthy, happy, and intelligent offspring. Because? Well, because “all values are equal”, and it is too JUDGMENTAL to say that one thing is better than another.
              Being an old geezer, it is WAAAY too late for me to be responsibly making new babies. But? When I am recycled in the Brave NEW era, I will GE myself and my babies to have GINORMOUS putrid pus-infested hemorrhoids, and we will run around, saying, “All of ye anti-GE fuckheads, SUCK MY PUTRID HEMORRHOIDS, please!!!!” And when we are condemned for that, we will just say, “That’s just your value judgment. Keep your prudish prejudices to yerself”.

              1. I am pretty sure that “first do no harm” will still be in effect. Geneticists will be forbidden from introducing defects into babies.

        3. That was my thought, as well.

      3. You are wrong.

        Example a: me.

        Fine with both circumcision and gene editing. The ear piercing thing bothers me, but I can let it slide.

        1. I am a Devout Goth and want to breed GE babies who are vampires, with “sharp, pointy teeth”, and the lust to suck human blood… Just ’cause I am GOTH, and fear my wrath! I in my ultra-Gothness am just SOOOO cool!!!!

          Can ye let THAT one slide?

      4. Equating abortion with circumcision – sure, why not? Makes perfect sense.

        1. That’s not what he did.

          1. True, no equivalence.
            Tonio made circumcision seem worse than abortion:
            “Mutilating a perfectly fine organism with consciousness for supersitious(sp) reasons” – circumcision – vs
            “Killing an Organism without consciousness” – abortion.
            One has to wonder if Tonio thinks passing through the birth canal is what instills consciousness.

            1. The fact that Pro-lifers object to abortion even before the organism has a brain suggests they don’t care about consciousness. So saying “Killing an organism without consciousness = abomination” is a fair comment about their beliefs.

      5. Killing an organism without consciousness…

        Might be an interesting debate if the pro-aborts actually drew the line at consciousness.

      6. Killing an Organism without consciousness (no differentiated neural tissue): Murder.

        How else do you eat organisms with nervous tissue if you don’t murder them first?

  7. “Instead of “inscribing inequality,” modern gene-editing techniques will give parents the option to confer on their children the same genes for good health and smarter brains that other children get randomly now. As I have earlier explained, “Safe affordable genetic medical technologies in an increasingly wealthy society are a recipe for eliminating genetic inequalities rather than perpetuating or exacerbating them.””

    I don’t know if I agree. People with money are always going to be able to get the really cutting edge gene-editing techniques (or any other sort of trans-human technology) so even if poor people can use gene editing too, it’s likely to always be worse gene editing than that available to the rich.

    Your argument seems to assume that once we’ve invented high-quality gene editing techniques, there will be no further improvements or refinements of those techniques which will first be available to the rich.

    1. Like rich people will be able to afford the 200 IQ gene recipe but poor people will only be able to get the 160 IQ recipe?

      1. I don’t know. Who knows what future refinements of technology will occur? It’s literally impossible to know what future advances there could be.

        I just don’t think you can assume this will cause a great genetic leveling when we don’t know how this technology is going to evolve over time.

        Admittedly, I know shit all about gene editing so it’s possible Ron’s right. I don’t know. I just think he’s being overly optimistic when there’s no way of actually knowing what kind of advances will occur in the future.

        1. Economic inequality will likely still exist, at least for a while. But once everyone is able to edit the genes of their offspring then that gap will probably shrink as physical and mental ability gaps start to disappear.

          At least, that’s my guess.

          1. Then where are the stupid people going to come from to dig our ditches and mop our floors?

            1. Foreigners. Duh. Just like now.

            2. Maybe some brilliant scientist can create a caste system where genes are edited based on need.

              1. The Huxley system!

                1. As long as I get my soma!

            3. Mexico, but they will speak flawless English.

          2. I think it will seriously help inequality in that it can be used to correct disabilities. If you can fix disabilities with gene editing then one major cause of inequality vanishes immediately and far more people will at least be ‘average.’

            1. If everyone’s average, no one is.

              1. No one is average, now. An average, by definition, is a statistical metric of a group.

                If everyone is what we now consider average, than all we do is narrow the statistical metric of the group.

            2. One of these days, someone is going to have to explain to me what’s so wonderful about equality. I doubt you could walk into a bar anywhere in the world and find patrons who’d be willing to watch a football game played by players who were their equals in athletic ability.

              1. Absolute equality is an impossibility.
                Those who lust after it, especially to the point of trying to make every outcome “equal”, are delusional.
                Probably trying to make up for some shortcoming, all the while decrying the inequality of it all.

          3. I doubt everyone edits gor the same qualities.

            1. Edit for a Slave Girl of Gor?!

            2. I’d be willing to bet that the Huxley system is implemented fairy quickly.

        2. The nature of almost every technological advance is that it is available to the wealthy first. Automobiles, electricity, refrigeration, etc…

          The only reason that the less wealthy gain access to these technologies is the high price the wealthy pay for access subsidizes improvements that expand the market.

          Even though “genetic inequality” will definitely exist, if capitalism is allowed to reign it will mean much the same as current income inequality: All genetic maladies eliminated but stuck with innate IQ. All in all, I would consider that a great success for humankind.

      2. Probably not, but richer parents will be able to better able to provide an environment that causes the genes to reach their highest potential. If two parents gene edit their children for height, even if the genes are the same if one of the children receives worse nutrition during childhood, they will be shorter than the other regardless of the genes being identical.

        1. Then we’ll get a good idea of just how big a deal is nature vs nurture.

          1. We are started to find out now. Epigenetics is still a young field, so who knows how a large of an affect anything has on any particular trait, but we know there is something more than just your raw DNA at work.

            1. And once every person is a genius they will be able to work on building ideal conditions for raising children to minimize or eliminate bad environmental conditions.

      3. Environmental factors can never be totally foreseen. Take the Hiltons for instance, they may be able to afford the latest and greatest in gene editing, yet still raise a Paris Hilton anyway.

    2. I don’t think there are degrees of gene editing. It either works or it doesn’t.

      1. What if they invent a way to expand human intelligence beyond what we currently think is possible, but all sorts of genetic modifications to make it possible?

        I’m shitty at explaining what I mean because I’m not educated in this subject. Something like this is sort of what I’m talking about.

        “Second, the “genetic architecture” must be straightforward. Traits must be caused by a single mutation, like beta-thalassemia, or by an interaction between a limited number of mutations. It may technically become possible to edit DNA accurately at multiple places in the near future. But we still won’t know what exactly needs to be edited to program a trait when tens or hundreds of gene variants are involved.”

        If you want certain traits, it will require very complex gene editing based on what this is arguing. I don’t think it’s as straightforward as ‘plug in this gene here’ and make your designer baby.

        1. There’s nothing intrinsically limiting the number of edits. And even a patented recipe would only limit widespread adoption for 20 years. You need to come up with something to drive up the cost, e.g. you need an army of 100ppl or a month of supercomputer time to generate the specific gene combinations, if you want to worry about this remaining purely in the domain of the rich.

    3. Rich people get better stuff. That’s why it’s desirable to be rich.

    4. “I don’t know if I agree. People with money are always going to be able to get the really cutting edge gene-editing techniques (or any other sort of trans-human technology) so even if poor people can use gene editing too, it’s likely to always be worse gene editing than that available to the rich.”

      Possibly. But it still gets the “good genes” out there on the genetics market. It’s not like rich people only ever breed with rich people. The kids of people who could afford good custom genetics will pass that shit on to their own kids.

    5. Your argument seems to assume that once we’ve invented high-quality gene editing techniques, there will be no further improvements or refinements of those techniques which will first be available to the rich.

      I took it to be along Clarke’s “indistinguishable from magic” trope.

      Sure, the ultra-rich will have access to the genes that allow them to live 5000 yrs. on a dozen kCal. while poor hobos will live 5-600 yrs. on a couple-hundred kcal every decade or so. Sure, the ultra-rich will get access first, but as long as the hobos get access before their ~450th birthday, who cares?

      The technology, (assuming it’s overwhelmingly successful otherwise, wealth is moot) will make them indistinguishably wealthier from our perspective while simultaneously advancing the disparity between them *and* making their wealth disparity relative to each other more irrelevant/meaningless. I mean, at some point we’re talking about brains in gold-tungsten alloy jars vs. platinum-irridium jars or backing up consciousness to eeprom storage vs. holographic or some similar hocus pocus.

    6. Of course. So what? The end result will be better future generation. And like everything else, price will go down when the technology becomes more mature.

    7. Well, people with money get all the fine ‘tang, so why don’t we govern how fine the ‘tang they can have, so they can’t continue to breed further inequality?

      1. No, wait…rich/poor interbreeding programs are obviously necessary. The poor should have access to the genetic advantages of the rich.

        1. When Brad and Angelina get together, are they breeding inequality? I mean, look at them. We need legislation…

    8. Given the Moore’s Law progress currently occuring in biotech i’d say that even the poorest will be able to afford the “cutting edge” of 10 years before. Besides which given the extra earning potential of highly effective genes there would be people who would lend the money for it. The problem is will the kids repay the cost or will they say “Tough luck dad, I didn’t sign te contract, you did.”.

  8. What do the copyright lawyers have to say on this? Also what about the unintended siblings? Cause you know everybody will be with same fashion trend…. generation after generation of virtual copies

    1. …and my dream of retiring to a fembot paradise in the body of David Hasselhoff draws one step closer…

  9. I suspect designer genomics will also help put an end to racialist nonsense as well.

    1. Nah, “designer gene privilege” would probably be the new gripe

      1. It’s your purple privilege to ignore my indigo suffering.

  10. A better question might be which Pokemon you edit your kids genes to resemble.

    1. Squirtle, of course.

  11. Does this mean Moby will be able to edit his kids gay?

    TEN-YEAR-OLD REFERENCE FOR THE WIN

  12. For example, the progressive Center for Genetics and Society opposes genetic modifications of embryos because they might result in “irreversible harms to the health of future children and generations” and would “inscribe inequality onto the human genome.” In 2015, the Center joined with the Friends of the Earth to call for “national and international prohibitions on the use of gene editing and synthetic biology to alter the human germ line for reproductive purposes.” The Council for Responsible Genetics once proposed a Genetic Bill of Rights that states, “All people have the right to have been conceived, gestated, and born without genetic manipulation.”

    Oh good grief. It’s like these idiots saw GATTACA and took it as prophecy.

    1. “”All people have the right to have been conceived, gestated, and born without genetic manipulation.””

      Wow. I’ve seen some dumbass rights invented out of thin air recently, but this is magnificent.

      1. You have a RIGHT to your Genetic Predisposition for Cancer.

    2. “All people have the right to have been conceived, gestated, and born without genetic manipulation.”

      I’m trying square this with being pro-choice, which I have no doubt these progressives are.

      What mental gymnastics does it take to say “You can’t edit an embryo’s genes, but you can end a viable embryo’s life”?

      1. The Council for Responsible Genetics once proposed a Genetic Bill of Rights that states, “All people have the right to have been… born”

        Ru-roh, someone tell NARAL.

        1. Ru-roh, someone tell NARAL.

          Why would an aquatic unicorn care?

          1. You’re thinking of Warhol.

              1. Is there any other comments section that gets as weird as quickly as you guys?

  13. I see no problems with raising children for the purpose of harvesting their organs.

    Wait, was this article not about that? Well, i still see no problems.

    1. Children have already been conceived with the intent of making them organ donors (for redundant organs like kidneys, obviously) for their siblings. So why not do the same, just increase the odds?

  14. im skipping the 200 iq nonsense the little fucker cant outsmart me. however, he will be named MessiToewsJordan and get the athlete package.

  15. Has there been a gene identified for back talk?

    If so, I want that one edited right out.

    1. Having kids that a genetically predisposed to cheerfully submit to authority figures is great until they 18 and start voting to cheerfully submit to the TOP MEN too.

      1. Exactly. The trick is to have them waffling between cherishing the moments that you aren’t paying attention to them and desiring to murder you in your sleep. A successful parent will balance those two conditions off of each other until you aren’t mandated, by law, to be ostensibly drowning them with love, adoration, and puppies. Then you can toss ’em out, lock the doors and go to sleep without worrying that they won’t burn the house down around you if you aren’t paying attention for 15 min.

  16. No shit, just think of all the people who get the genius athlete package but mixed with their inbred idiot mud gene base, they end up with hitler.

  17. STEVE SMITH FINALLY ABLE TO CONTINUE GENETIC LINE! HAS TRIED RAPE FOR DECADES. NO BABY STEVE SMITH’S 🙁

    1. Unfortunately for STEVE, Gigantopithecus aren’t capable of producing viable offspring with Homo sapiens.

  18. I am disappointed in the headline: should you be allowed to … A libertarian rag ought to approach the question with a headline more like, “Should you be prevented from …”

    1. (ok, headline newly updated, thank you)

  19. Should the Government

    No.

  20. I’m not opposed to genetic editing, but calling opposition to it “eugenics” is stupid and incorrect. Eugenics by definition is “The science of improving a population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics.” IOW, forbidding people from doing anything to improve the genetics of their offspring simply doesn’t fit the definition of eugenics.

    1. I also think you should first ask Eugene what he thinks about all this

      1. No wonder he’s always first, gene selection

    2. Yeah, should call that “dysgenics”.

  21. Your child should be content with the cystic fibrosis gene that God/Gaia intended him or her to have.

  22. Logan . if you think Albert `s posting is terrific, on saturday I got themselves a Chevrolet Corvette after bringing in $9913 recently and would you believe, 10-k lass month . this is certainly the most-financialy rewarding Ive ever had . I began this eight months/ago and immediately made myself over $82.. per/hr . check this site out…
    Clik this link in Your Browser..

    ————! http://www.Wage90.com

    1. Can we eliminate the genetic disposition to spam serious forums? Or Reason forums?

  23. “consider implications for both the individual and the future generations who will carry the genetic alterations,” along with the possibility of “exacerbat[ing] social inequities.”

    Seems like those two are opposite.

    First one is Gene Editing Could Cause Bad Stuff!!

    Second one is Gene Editing Could Cause Good Stuff, but because Expensive it helps Rich People and therefore Good Stuff is Bad!!

    Also, even if we assume that only rich people can afford CRISPR, it’s not like the kids of rich people only ever breed with the kids of other rich people. The good genes would spread even if we assumed the nonsense of “only the richest people could afford this”.

  24. FoE: has a more correct acronym ever been invented?

  25. Wow man I never even thought about it liek that before. WOw.

    http://www.Anon-Net.tk

  26. In an ironic ethical twist, this eugenic reasoning has been turned on its head in the early 21st century.

    If you really wanted to go for the “irony”, you could have pointed out that in the US the Progressives were the original eugenicists. Then as now, they justified their calls for power by “concern over the blood line”, though *how* they wanted to control it has entirely flipped.

    Similarly, then as now, Progressives were the racists. First the Klan and racial quotas, now identify politics, La Raza, BLM, and racial quotas.

  27. Only the central committee of the centralized socialist state knows what’s best.

    Most members of the central committee studied governmentality at elite universities and after grad school worked at think tanks.

    Now let their expertise in analizing help you lead a carefree lives unconcerned about difficult individual choices.

    Lives much too short so let central committee decide what best.
    Enjoy !!

  28. So what happens when this gene editing goes awry, resulting in mass disability and death?

    Example: Lets say we gene edit the population and get rid of Sickle Cell Anemia, great right? Except the defective Sickle Cell gene, when only one is present, gives a person significant resistance to Malaria. Eliminating the defective Sickle Cell gene would make a significant portion of humanity worse off, not better.

    30 years ago scientists believed in “Junk DNA”. Turns out we are finding that DNA actually does have function. What is there that we still don’t know? What happens 60 years from now when scientists say, “Oops. That gene we modified to eliminate breast cancer also indirectly affects the immune system post-menopause. The 100 million women who have had this gene mod are going to have effectively no immune system once they hit menopause. Our bad.”

    There is a good reason why software code that is going to be put on mission critical systems, where rolling back to a previous version is not possible, goes through so much testing. We’re looking at potentially editing the human genome with less understanding of how it functions as a system and less rigorous testing than what goes into the software that processes my Visa card.

    It seems perfectly reasonable to be extremely cautious about modifying such mission critical software as that which runs our bodies in a way that can be passed to offspring when our understanding is still so profoundly lacking

    1. Really? That’s what you want to hang your hat on, Sickle Cell protection against malaria?

      Those who had the sickle cell trait (HbAS) had a slight survival advantage over those without any sickle cell genes (HbAA), with children with sickle cell disease (HbSS) faring the worst.

      (emphasis mine)

      So you want to trade a 5% improvement in survival against the chance of a 10% (or more) lower survival rate. Such a humanitarian.

      1. Yeah Man, I hear ya…

        The other flaw in Crosshair’s logic is when we start out by simply fixing the genes (germ line) of people’s descendants, when we already know that XYZ gene causes horrible diseases, and the ZQW version works MUCH better! For starters at least, the “beta test” of the “new software” has been “done” tested, long-long ago. Let’s just start there, and see how it goes from there… Fixing obvious defects.

        1. “Let’s just start there, and see how it goes from there… Fixing obvious defects.”

          Please don’t go into software development. Such sloppy practices will cost you dearly.

          DNA is software code more complex than anything we have yet created ourselves. Very often there are interactions that are not obvious and are only apparent when you actually run the code in a real environment.

          Scientists may know that XYZ gene is present in people who have a particular disease, but they are in no way capable of doing a code audit to determine all interactions. No way to tell that if you edit XYZ gene that you also need to edit gene QRS and LMN to prevent a new software bug from arising. Oh sure you can toss out some well studied examples, but we all know that there is going to be a rush to apply this technology to diseases that are far less well understood.

          It is easily possible that the consequences of such edits will not show up for decades or even generations. Thus why it is important to have this discussion now rather than later and proceed very cautiously given the costs if we screw up.

          As for editing beyond curing diseases as others have talked about, Star Trek touched on that subject with those like Kahn. Where vast rewrites of genetic code cause unintended consequences that make the “superior” humans less fit than “normal” humans in important ways.

      2. Way to miss the forest for the trees.

        Let me ask the question more bluntly: What happens when the scientists **** up and 5 million people die painful deaths because genes that were edited.with the intention of saving lives had unintended consequences?

        I indeed am a responsible humanitarian. I recognize the benefits of this technology, but I ALSO recognize how it could all go horrifically wrong and cause more hard than good if we are not extremely careful?

        People will trot out their emotional examples of people who could have been saved had we only rolled out this tech sooner, blah blah blah. Given how this stuff will be passed on, we need to be darn sure that we aren’t going to replace one tragedy for another.

        1. OK, so if we are going to throw out there for consideration, way-way hypothetical scenarios, here is one for you:

          Huge nuclear accident spews mutagens planet wide… Or, huge chemical accident does ditto. Or even, a mutagen-laden asteroid from who-knows where, hits the Earth, and spews said gene-warping elements or compounds planet-wide (latter scenario takes, hopefully, OUT of consideration, the SICK ideology of, tech-humans have SINNED by using tech, therefor, they must PAY with suffering and perhaps, extinction).

          Human race then breeds 95% way-defective babies (those few who come to term). Choice is: Use GE to preserve and perpetuate tech-capable humans who will hopefully, in the future be “guardians of the planet” (fend off future killer asteroids, etc.), or humans can go back to the caves, or, perhaps, go extinct. GE (Genetic Engineering) is the only life preserver left, for humans. Are you STILL going to worry that “something might go wrong”?

          After the apocalypse, when we have to eat half-rotten dead possums, etc. in order to survive, will you work for the FDA, and tell us to STARVE TO DEATH instead of eating the half-rotted possums, in the name of “safety”? If so, I have a name for you and your type; it is “HEALTH AND SAFETY NAZI”!

    2. So, the argument shouldn’t be about reproductive rights of parents and the decision-making that surrounds, it should be that parents might do scary things if we let them have this level of control over their reproductive destiny, and we should stop them now, before it’s too late?

      If you want to set aside the moral argument and just argue in terms of risk, I’d say that by the time the adoption rate looks anything like a significant percentage of the populace, the same science of genetic manipulation will have an answer for the loss of some heretofore unknown genetic advantage. If there is some likelihood we encounter disaster with these types of manipulations of the genome, then doesn’t it stand to reason there is some similar likelihood the same technology averts a genetic disaster or susceptibility to some new strain of a known disease? Couldn’t we just edit to include the defective sickle cell gene and enjoy the resistance to malaria without all the sickle cell?

  29. Earning money online was never been easy as it has become for me now. I freelance over the internet and earn about 45 bucks an hour. gv Get more time with your family by doing jobs that only require for you to have a computer band an internet access and you can have that at your home. A little effort and handsome earning dream is just a click away?…..original site……

    ——- http://www.payability70.com

  30. Logan . if you think Albert `s posting is terrific, on saturday I got themselves a Chevrolet Corvette after bringing in $9913 recently and would you believe, 10-k lass month . this is certainly the most-financialy rewarding Ive ever had . I began this eight months/ago and immediately made myself over $82.. per/hr . check this site out…
    Clik this link in Your Browser..

    ————? http://www.Wage30.com

  31. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do..
    Clik This Link inYour Browser….

    ? ? ? ? http://www.workpost30.com

  32. If you think inability of the unborn to consent to gene editing is ridiculous ask yourself now that you’ve been born whether you’d like to be subject to mandatory gene editing to correct what others deem ‘your problems’. Unless you say you’d be happy to let them you’re a freaking hypocrite.

    Grats to Crosshair for the comment about so-called ‘junk dna’. If editors don’t even understand what it is they have no idea what they’re doing to another future human.

  33. Logan . if you think Albert `s posting is terrific, on saturday I got themselves a Chevrolet Corvette after bringing in $9913 recently and would you believe, 10-k lass month . this is certainly the most-financialy rewarding Ive ever had . I began this eight months/ago and immediately made myself over $82.. per/hr . check this site out…
    Clik this link in Your Browser..

    ————? http://www.Wage30.com

  34. Logan . if you think Albert `s posting is terrific, on saturday I got themselves a Chevrolet Corvette after bringing in $9913 recently and would you believe, 10-k lass month . this is certainly the most-financialy rewarding Ive ever had . I began this eight months/ago and immediately made myself over $82.. per/hr . check this site out…
    Clik this link in Your Browser..

    ————? http://www.Wage30.com

  35. In an ironic ethical twist, this eugenic reasoning has been turned on its head in the early 21st century. Contemporary eugenicists want to use government power to prevent people from using modern biotech methods to help them to bear children who are unburdened of inherited disease and debility.

    Progressives have changed little: they still advocate racism, segregation, eugenics, protectionism, anti-capitalism, restrictions on speech, and restrictions on religion, just like they did a century ago. Only the vocabulary and the pseudo-science used to support it have changed a little.

  36. Parents: “Oh, how did you find us, G-Man? We thought we’d have at least until conception before you asserted government control!”

    G-Man: “No one EXPECTS G-man! G-Man simply TAKES control! Now, unhand your eggs and sperm, evildoer!”

  37. The Fit Finally programs and guides are based on over 600 research studies conducted by some of the biggest Universities and research teams of the world.
    We take pride in the fact that our passion for better health and fitness is 100% backed by science and helps 100’s (if not 1000’s) of people every year since 2010. Just try it:

    http://03615gbnxbyy5y42r9r8o80…..kbank.net/

  38. The author writes “Safe affordable genetic medical technologies in an increasingly wealthy society are a recipe for eliminating genetic inequalities rather than perpetuating or exacerbating them.” This is laughable. We all know, or should, that these technologies will be used to grant the affluent more advantages than they already have while leaving poorer people relatively poorer.

    Maybe that’s ok. Maybe that’s the libertarian position. But to ignore this fact is disingenuous.

  39. I’ve made $76,000 so far this year working online and I’m a full time student.I’m using an online business opportunity I heard about and I’ve made such great money.It’s really user friendly and I’m just so happy that I found out about it.

    Open This LinkFor More InFormation..

    ??????? http://www.workpost30.com

  40. As a general rule, if a bioethicist is concerned about something that seems beneficial their concern isn’t worth worrying about. I mean has anyone ever said “Wow, I’m glad we listen to those bioethicists concerns or we couldn’t have avoided that disaster.”.

  41. As a general rule, if a bioethicist is concerned about something that seems beneficial their concern isn’t worth worrying about. I mean has anyone ever said “Wow, I’m glad we listen to those bioethicists concerns or we couldn’t have avoided that disaster.”.

  42. I’ve made $76,000 so far this year working online and I’m a full time student.I’m using an online business opportunity I heard about and I’ve made such great money.It’s really user friendly and I’m just so happy that I found out about it.

    Open This LinkFor More InFormation..

    ??????? http://www.workpost30.com

  43. I suffer from depression. If you suffered from depression, you might consider having children to being cruel, because knowing that I am giving life to someone who will go thru so much pain disturbs me. If I could ensure that my children would never, NEVER have it, then it wouldn’t be cruel.

  44. But where will you stand when someone claims to have actually located “the gay gene” and parents want it excised?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.