CRISPR: Designer Babies
Benefits of CRISPR
Benefits of CRISPR
CRISPR is a gene editing tool
that allows scientists to edit genomes with unprecedented precision,
efficiency, and flexibility.
The past few years have seen a
flurry of “firsts” with CRISPR, from creating monkeys with targeted mutations
to preventing HIV infection in human cells.
CRISPR has a lot of potential as
a tool for treating a range of medical conditions that have a genetic
component, including cancer, hepatitis B or even high cholesterol.
With the advent of CRISPR, it is
now more cost effective (1% of original cost) and simple to genetically
Creating designer babies: CRISPR
can be also used to genetically alter human gametes, zygotes, or embryos to be
able to lower a child’s’ risk of developing many disorders and illnesses, as
well as being able to dictate gender, hair and eye color, height, athletic
ability, intelligence and other qualities.
Implications of Designer Babies
With reference to a TED Talk by
biomedical scientist and writer Paul Knoelpfer,
Although most labs are not
interested in making designer babies, there will be scientists driven by
ideology or profit to open this ‘Pandora’s Box’ and start a full out
‘Genetically Modified Human’ campaign. Doing so would result in various adverse
rising/elitism: polarisation and stratification of GM people and Naturals,
possibly creating new class systems (Brave New World?)
unpredictability of this new technology that could result in unintended harm
which would damage the entire field of genetic modification
may take interest in this technology and push for a generation of GM humans to
lower healthcare expenditure.
Designer babies can easily become
40 years ago, the first test tube baby Louise Brown was born, and since then
five million IVF babies have been born.
in the next few years to come, if the first designer baby is born, there could
well be millions of genetically modified humans within a few decades. And this
impact will perpetuate itself as genetic modification is heritable, thus the
children of designer babies would be genetically modified as well.
For the first time in history, GM human embryos have been created by
researchers in China in 2015, hence driving the scientific community a step
closer to the creation of the first designer baby.