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Cheap Fast Powerful Gene-Editing Will Soon Change the World

From Reason:

CRISPR can be used to edit crops and food animal genomes to improve their productivity and pest resistance. It can modify people’s immune systems, letting them kill off cancer cells. It can construct micro-organisms that secrete carbon-neutral fuels. And it could let us curate wild environments by editing mosquitoes so that they cannot transmit disease and by causing invasive species to breed themselves into extinction.

Source: Cheap Fast Powerful Gene-Editing Will Soon Change the World – Hit & Run : Reason.com

Three items worth noting from the article;

The ability of scientists to alter the genome of plants, insects, animals and even humans has the potential to eliminate immense suffering and enhance the human condition.

Genetic modification of any kind has created massive resistance from various groups afraid of what might happen. What if people start to order “designer babies”?

Who decides who gets to do what? There are certainly ethical issues involved. Who best to control the process; the scientific community, businesses developing new products or government bureaucrats? There is ample evidence that all three have significant ethical failings. Especially government which some people seem to think has a special moral standing when all our experience shows that government is just as susceptible to individual greed, power seeking and corruption as any other human organization.

As an aside what is inheritantly wrong with “designer babies”?  The idea seems creepy but would it really be a bad thing if people were healthier, smarter and better looking?

 

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