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Gene Editing Of The Human Germline

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Gene editing sometimes known as genome editing is a scientific process of deliberately altering slightly changed to the DNA of a cell or an organism. It uses advanced technological tools such as CRISPR/Cas9 which is said to make people’s lives better but not entirely ensuring a better future for the next generations yet to come. Germline genome editing which is the main focus of this thesis statement refers to the genome editing that happens during a reproductive cell or embryo (KE Ormond, 2017). Genome editing should not be encouraged based on many severe concerns which I am going to discuss in more details below, one of which is that it tempers with the origin or natural genetic composition of an individual.

One of the ethical issues against genome editing is inequality based on wealth. The CRISPR is quite expensive of which I bet many people are turning a blind eye to that that’s why some even take loans in other to be able to afford the CRISPR technique. Since it is so expensive, only the wealthy people will be able to afford it whereas those who are poor will no. It would have been far more better if every individual is able to afford it regardless of status, unfortunately that’s not the case here. We should ask ourselves this question, “should something that would bring inequality amongst different classes be encouraged? It is pointless to encourage something that without doubt increases inequality in the country. Only the riches will have the most privilege and benefit a lot from CRISPR and that’s a mere fact. For example, they get the chance to choose desired traits for their own unborn babies. Who on Earth would not wish to have his/her own preferred child who at most is both intelligent and beautiful! If only it was possible that everyone can get to enjoy the same privileged as those who will be able to afford CRISPR.

Another predominantly issue of genome editing is security and solidarity. Is it worth the sacrifice? There’s no guarantee that technology can not be misused when it falls into the wrong hands. In proposition to this statement above, almost any technology can be misused (VIB, Ethical issues). The principle of solidarity emphasizes taking into consideration the common vulnerabilities of individual wherever they exist (Mulvihill JJ, 2017). Mutualism is not implied in all of this, such crucial matter needs to be thoroughly evaluated. From an ethical view the question we should always be asking ourselves is not what CRISPR can do for humans but what humans can do with it, that’s where the matter of misuse might occur, sometimes it’s not only misuse but the lack of information in the use of CRISPR technique may eventually leads to one using the tool falsely or in an inappropriate way as a result creating problems which might not be solved in the future.

One of the ethical issues that arises in genome editing which I strongly believe has been addressed but still needs to be emphasizes is the “autonomy of future generations.” The bioethical challenge of the shortcoming an embryo to make a decision is an obvious (Hsu P.D, 2014). In the Feinberg’s 1980 Open future theory specializing in the CRISPR germline engineering concludes by saying : “Although the embryo doesn’t possess the autonomous decision-making capacity at the time of a germline engine, the parental decision to change the unique genetic fabric of the embryo and the coming generation disregard future autonomy, therefore germline engineering in many instances is objectionable considering Feinberg’s Open future theory(Rachel K.Mintz, 2019).” For instance there are scientific concerns that CRISPR/Cas9 ,TALEN or Zinc Finger nucleases could inadvertently target other loci in the genome and that such anticipated genetic manipulations (Sugarman, 2015).

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The public is often confused and always have high expectations as well as demands when it comes to gene editing technique and other techniques such as the stem cell based on the researched information they find on the internet, it’s always amusing as to what the internet contains, and we assume that each and every problem we encounter can be solved with scientific knowledge only. The mere fact is that the internet is not 100 % accurate, now we should not trust everything that the internet says we must do unless it is recommended by many. The researchers needs to address this matter to the popular press and to the social media providing evidence in the process (Caulfield et al ,2016).

The last ethical issues that also needs to be addressed is the concerns related to eugenics which refers to both the selection of positive traits such as intelligence and beauty also the removal of diseases or traits viewed negatively (KE Ormond, 2017) . Another concern that arises when selecting characteristics, prenatal testing and the potential for gene therapy or gene editing is the possibility that allowed parents to choose the best traits for their desirable babies (KE Ormond, 2017).

One last common concern about gene genome editing (GGE) is that without absolute conviction it will be used as a tool of human enhancement and not entirely preventing and treating diseases (Gyngell, 2017). This is because it can target a large number of genes at the same time as well as inserting gene that do not occur naturally but since humans are unpredictable, they can exceed the human range to super extreme levels (Gyngell, 2017). The use of GGE now poses a very significant moral risk, and regulations of it could not limit GGE to enhance therapeutic uses, then that can be the reason not to implement GGE as a clinical tool (Gyngell, 2017). People should learn to accept and appreciate the way they were born. I believe everyone is uniquely beautiful in his or her own way.

In conclusion, the future generations depends on the current generations decisions, whatever decision the current generation takes it will affect the future generations in a positive or negative way. Implementing gene editing on the human germline is a bad decision, based on the scientific evidence above I suggest that gene editing should not be practiced on humans at all. CRISPR has made a great impact in making life better for humans but the severe consequences that it can have on the embryos of future generations cannot be ignored. Therefore my final concluding statement is that gene genome editing should be banned.

REFERENCES

  1. Gyngell C. The Ethics of Germline Gene Editing. Journal of Applied Philosophy.2017; 34(2): 507-509.
  2. Hsu P.D. Lander E.S.,Zhang F. Development and Applications of CRISPR-Cas9 for genome engineering. Cell. 2014; 157:’1262-1278.
  3. Mintz R.R, Loike J.D and Fischbach R.L, et al. Will CRISPR Germline Engineering Close the Door to an Open Future?. Science and Engineering Ethics. 2019; 25: 1409-1423.
  4. Mulvihill J.J, Capps B and Joly Y, et al. Ethical issues of CRISPR technology and gene editing through the lens of solidarity. British Medical Bulletin. 2017; 122: 17-29.
  5. Ormond KE, Mortlock DP, Scholes DT, et al. Human germline Genome Editing. Am J Hum Genet. 2017; 102(2): 167-176.
  6. Sugarman J. Ethics and germline gene editing. EMBO reports. 2015; 16: 879-880.

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Gene Editing Of The Human Germline. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved August 17, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/gene-editing-of-the-human-germline/
“Gene Editing Of The Human Germline.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/gene-editing-of-the-human-germline/
Gene Editing Of The Human Germline. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/gene-editing-of-the-human-germline/> [Accessed 17 Aug. 2022].
Gene Editing Of The Human Germline [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2022 Aug 17]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/gene-editing-of-the-human-germline/
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