For the past half-decade CrispR has made waves throughout the scientific community. Many have celebrated it as the start of a new age of humanity and the key to solving disability, disease and even mortality.
This may at first be befuddling to those uninitiated. What is CrispR and why is it such a big deal and how could this effect our daily lives?
To start CrispR is gene editor that is much cheaper and easier than those prior giving scientists the opportunity to gene edit with much less restriction.
CrispR is performed by the cas9 enzyme which after being sent out by the CrispR protein identifies the problematic genome such as a sequence that causes down syndrome then it builds guide RNA. Cas9 is then sent into cells were the guide RNA finds matches to the guide RNA and edits it.
Scientist have discovered how to manually use this natural system by inserting DNA directly into the CrispR protein letting them change any cell. Giving scientist the ability of full DNA modification.
This is HUGE.
DNA has extensive variety and almost any trait or attribute can be added to a plant animal or human.
Gmo crops could be juicier, longer lasting and pest resistant. Even the harmful effects of global warming could be mitigated thanks to heat resistant crops.
The infant death rate could be completely snuffed out. Genetical disorders such as Downs Syndrome could be eradicated.
But this brings in an entirely new problem designer babies. Once we start getting rid of negative traits like disorders who’s to say we shouldn’t change other undesirable traits.
If we can gift someone with super intelligence or a perfect body, and we decide not to is that cruel? If we do give everybody these perfect bodies, when will it stop?
Could purple eyes and 6’7” stature be commonplace? What does that mean for the people who can’t afford genetic modification?
If a corrupt government like North Korea got ahold of this technology what could that mean for its citizens?
Could an unseen side effect cause mass extension far off in the future? Could GMOs cause a lack of genetic variation.
What does it mean to be human and how do genetics effect that meaning?
These are all questions that must be answered when GMOs hit the mainstream, and it’s not a matter of if but when.