GMO babies (coming to a nursery near you)!
I either want one that looks exactly like me, talks exactly like me and acts exactly like me (okay so fine I want a clone but I want it to be a snuggly baby first) or I want some really beautiful exotic looking daughter that has a French accent, knows how to roll cigarettes and talks like a walking thesaurus. Can they make that in embryo? I bet if I spent enough time and money in China I could get top seed on the hot female geniuses list (that’s real, click here).
Were you so busy reading about the pregnant manager of a Texas Popeye’s that got fired after being robbed at gun point that you missed that this month Chinese scientists genetically altered embryo DNA!
I really can’t decide how I feel.
I mean I’ll take my margherita pizza sans the GMO tomatoes and I’m not so hip on selective abortions but designer babies? Hmm.
Here’s the thing the possibility that in a reasonable time that we would be able to eradicate all kinds of rare horrible genetic diseases. Have you ever spent any time researching blood diseases, like the one that these scientists were targeting in their experiments? It’s a shitty life. Being born and existing anywhere under any circumstances with a life altering chronic medical condition sucks. Period. Yes, you can preserver. Yes, with the right support team, medical innovation and amount of money you can have a externally normal life. But really, wouldn’t it be nice if we live in a world free of cystic fibrosis, tay-saches disease, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia and swiss cheese cartilage dysplasia (that’s a real thing) amongst others.
I feel like were back to the anti-vac-ers debate where we have to pull out horrid images of mumps and polio to remind people that science makes our human lives far superior to what it was 5 to 100 years ago. Seriously.
The scientific community, humanitarians, ethicists, people using their brains for anything other than reality tv everywhere are flipping the fuck out.
Why? There’s an unwritten code amongst scientists that you don’t fuck with real human DNA. Multiple scientific organizations released statements condoning such activities (it’s research). Their reasoning, we’re not ready. We haven’t flushed through all of the moral debates. We’re playing God.
Here’s my issue. On the micro scale-
1- These scientists were using a new technology that has made DNA altercation far more precise than ever before.
2- They used inviable embryos that wouldn’t survive if introduced to a womb as a way to wart off ethical debate.
3- They are experiementing. This is how science works. Someone has to rock the g-damn boat. Even if that boat is called human life.
On a macro scale-
I really understand not wanting to open the lets go messing with human DNA can of worms. Sure there may be (okay there are) mad scientist and no actual Superman. But, like all kinds of medical technology we have to put some blind trust in the morality of scientist. Butttttt then again there’s animal testing.
Speaking of animal testing. If we’re so high and mighty about the sacredness of human DNA maybe we should exercise a little more humanity towards the 125,000 primates prisoned, tortured and murdered in US laboratories every year.Those are actually born, living, feeling, breathing, emotional creatures that are in my opinion much more sacred than unviable human embryos.
Mostly my defense of this kind of highly controversial research (experimentation). Is not that far from my defense of stem cell research. We are willing to go to all of these extreme lengths to keep those of us who are living alive. Including, taking a beating heart out of a brain dead body performing a four hour surgery that literally costs 1.2 million dollars over the first year. All so that we can keep smoking cigarettes, eating cheeseburgers and/or find a work around for defects genetic or otherwise that occurred at no fault of the patient. Over 2,000 of these are performed in the United States every year.
I wonder if those patients spend an amount of time commensurate with the amount of science, innovation and unprecedented research that lead to this magical procedure that save thousands of people from desperate life ending situations every year considering the morality of the procedure that they jump through crazy hoops to get. A heart transplant is just one example.
My counter to this argument is that there’s a sliver of my heart that longs for all of the good, smart, funny, innovative people on this planet to pass some sort of standardized test that says you get to move to this sustainable utopia where we have eliminated the concept of linear modern time and industrial farming. We (clearly I would be one of the chosen people) will now all live a simple life full of nutrients, nature and rewarding work. Plus we get to keep all of our apple products, wifi and modern plumbing. That’s only reasonable. In this world we would all die at reasonable life expectancies probably around 40. You could get stitches and some kind of herbal salve for your boil but no major pharmaceuticals. No genetic manipulation. No life saving procedures in the 11th hour. No emergency c-sections. So yep, most of us would be dead. Or soon to be dead.
I’ll refer to your high school debate team for the discussion on Eugenics. If it happens before you are born is it immoral?
We all want what we can’t have (with out medical intervention or drastic lifestyle reform) a long happy, healthy life for us and our children. What are we willing to sacrifice for the cause? The unwritten code amongst scientist that somethings are off limits? I’m ready to go there. Maybe we should cling to the last spontaneous elements of nature but then we should also be willing to watch those people die off without overextending a decent and reasonable amount of medical care. Are you ready to flush your pills? Skip your elective surgery? Pass on the amniocentesis testing?
Call me crazy but I find the criticism of genetic manipulation hypocritical or soon to be.