Ethically Questionable: Gene ManipulationJanuary 30, 2019
Chinese researcher He Jiankui tried to conduct research into genetically editing human embryos. Is it ethical to edit genes or alter them?
It could be a form of Nazism to edit genes because cutting and pasting for a research paper is one idea. But, can science change the genetic makeup of someone? Can he or she be molded into what we want that baby to be? Parents are afraid of imperfections, but that is what contains different personalities, features, and mannerisms.
The technique, known as CRISPR/Cas9 , lets scientists cut-and-paste DNA inside cells to correct genetic defects or, potentially, add new capabilities. It offers enormous promise to improve our understanding of biology and to treat or even eliminate genetic diseases.
The very idea that we can cut and paste DNA and manipulate cells shows how far we have advanced in science. But, playing with nature in order to eliminate diseases and other unfavorable genetic makeup is questionable. Being ethical is also a part of science, and biomedical research has been questioned in China for CRISPR techniques.
Dark Side of Eugenics
But there’s a dark side to manipulating our genetics that few want to discuss: Eugenics, the racist practice of trying to “improve” the human race by controlling genetics and reproduction. In the name of science and improvement, there could be the development of the idea that permits perfection to be the norm. For instance, blue eyes could be seen as being more beautiful than brown eyes.
Accused Researcher: Making an Ethical Choice?
He Jiankui was accused by the Chinese government for breaking ethical codes because he performed genetic editing for a second pregnancy to eliminate HIV. It’s still unclear what charges He might face, whether the gene editing in the second pregnancy was HIV-related, or what will become of this second pregnancy. Ethical questions are definitely at the forefront of biomedical research.