CRISPR-Cas9 will make it be possible for parents to ensure that mutations such as Huntington’s disease…are eliminated from their children’s DNA. By the same token,…[i]t will allow the privileged the power to create “designer babies” and inevitably perpetuate the divide between the haves…and have-nots.
In the hands of a biohacker, CRISPR-Cas9 could transform even the most benign infections into deadly epidemics and engineer them to replicate rapidly….
It is primarily for this reason that the genetic community has called for a complete moratorium on germ-line genetic manipulation to ensure that any edits to the genetic code do not pass into the hereditary pool….
[But] the goal of medicine has always been to create improved humans and CRISPR-Cas9 is just the latest tool that will help us along in that direction. Any ban on germ-line research will prevent us from reaping the therapeutic benefits of this technology.
Even if we can agree that there are risks inherent in meddling with the gene pool, we have to recognize that certain genes are bad in every conceivable context…There is no conceivable benefit in allowing a gene that causes [a disease like Tay-Sachs] to survive in the gene pool.
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