The human embryo may
suffer a change, considering the evolution which scientists aspire reaching. Researchers think that they will soon be able to modify the genetic material of human beings. This experiment requires for the modification of the human gene while the embryo is in its developmental phase. Biologist Frederik Lanner at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm is the one who tried to modify human embryo. Various countries, the US being among them, permit the editing of genes but prohibit the placement of the modified embryo into the womb.
- Scientists make possible the idea of gene-manipulation.
- The Swedish experiment brings to the surface various opinions.
Alta Charo, chair of the National Academy of Science panel, claims that even if some US states forbid scientists to conduct research on embryos, it would be illegal in every country in the US to try to conceive a gene-mutated embryo. Gene modification applies new techniques like CRISPR Cas-9 which helps at clipping out human genes while the embryo continues its normal evolution. Parents, who are aware that they inherited some unwanted genes that expose them to diseases like Huntington’s or cerebral palsy, are likely to wish this gene-editing possibility to come true.
Some experts came to the idea that this gene-manipulation power may be used to edit the genetic material such that the new human being would have perfect features, not only physically, but also psychically. It would be as if scientists will call themselves Gods, being free to create the perfect human being. Maybe some parents have height issues and may want their perfect child to be higher than them, or better looking than them. They will know that everything they wish for could be possible.
Henry T. Greely, director of the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Standford University, has a different opinion. He argues that he does not consider it an ethical problem until scientists don’t try to make a human being out of it. But still, the scientist is aware of the fact that other researchers may argue that the Swedish experiment is only one step further from totally changing a human gene.
Another scientist is concerned that this experiment will go into the wrong direction. Rosario Isasi, assistant professor at the University of Miami’s department of human genetics, claims that scientists cannot reassure the public who may think they might abuse their power. How can the community be sure that scientists don’t misapply this technology?
Would you trust this new technology of gene-editing? Would you let scientists use it on your genetic material? Do you think it is safe?
Image source: wikipedia