Are we ignoring ‘staggering risks’ of human gene editing, including a wider gap between haves and have nots?

| | December 4, 2019
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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Biologists recently revealed a new form of the gene-editing tool known as Crispr that allows researchers to make precise changes to almost any element of DNA, permanently altering cellular biochemistry.

The risks are staggering, and probably beyond our capacity even to imagine. Bioethicists consider a few in a new collection of essays, “Human Flourishing in an Age of Gene Editing.” As science advances, biologists may well learn how to use gene editing to improve traits like intelligence, beauty and physical endurance, even though these depend on many genes, not just one. This could forever change the relationship between parents and their children, who might become more like manufactured products, their character shaped entirely by parental choice, subject to pressures of fashion and marketing. The best such technology won’t be cheap, and it would likely increase the gap between haves and have-nots.

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The biggest risks are simply ignored in the naive cost-benefit analyses of those pushing for experimentation. For example, one can imagine a threat to the generational continuity that holds humanity together as a community of individuals with shared experiences.

Read full, original post: Gene Editing Might Alter Our DNA. It Might Destroy Our Humanity, Too

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