Viewpoint: We aren’t prepared to ‘responsibly’ handle a genetic engineered future

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Image: Benedikt Luft

The news last November that a rogue Chinese scientist had genetically altered the embryos of a pair of Chinese twins shocked the world. But although this use of advanced technology to change the human gene pool was premature, it was a harbinger of how genetic science will alter our healthcare, the way we make babies, the nature of the babies we make, and, ultimately, our sense of who and what we are as a species.

But while the genetics revolution has already begun, we aren’t prepared to handle these Promethean technologies responsibly.

The same tools that will help cure our worst afflictions, save our children, help us live longer, healthier, more robust lives will also open the door to potential abuses. Prospective parents with the best of intentions or governments with lax regulatory structures or aggressive ideas of how population-wide genetic engineering might be used to enhance national competitiveness or achieve some other goal could propel us into a genetic arms race that could undermine our essential diversity, dangerously divide societies, lead to dangerous, destabilizing, and potentially even deadly conflicts between us, and threaten our very humanity.

Related article:  Access to plant genetic data sparks conflict between rich, poor countries trying to breed climate-resilient crops

Read full, original post: Our Genetically Engineered Future Is Closer Than You Think

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