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Genetic engineering is the deliberate modification of the characteristics of an organism by manipulating its genetic material. Gene editing technology is not new and has been around for years but experiments were always lengthy and expensive which limited the advancement and study of the field. Within the last couple years, however, came the discovery of the new gene editing technology Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) which is a system found in bacteria used as a self-defense against bacteriophages. The CRISPR system defenses itself by editing the bacteria’s own genome through identifying the virus’ genetic material and cutting it out, thus making it harmless to the bacteria. CRISPR found its way into the limelight of genome editing when scientists discovered that the system was programmable, turning CRISPR into the newest form of of genome editing technology. The significance of this development was that CRISPR was extremely accurate at editing genes and through CRISPR genome editing became drastically less expensive and time-consuming and became so easy that it could be used in any lab. With the newfound accuracy and accessibility that this system brings, the discussion inevitably inches closer to the topic of human genome editing, its practical uses, and the ethical questions that surround it. The possibility of a future where genetically modified humans, or ‘Designer Babies’, could be born immune to many or all diseases and have increased life spans is an exciting one but many are reluctant to accept the idea so readily stressing that we as a society need to define how far we will go with this technology and where we draw the line between acceptable and taboo. This paper seeks to put forth that while the topic of designer babies is controversial and there are lines that indeed need to be defined that should not stop society from testing and using a technology with such massive potential to do good.

Post Author: admin