Mom, why didn’t you give me better genes?
Would you like to genetically modify your child? Who should be allowed to make the decision, health care workers, parents or politicians? Who is responsible when it goes wrong?
We might not be able to design our babies just yet, but the possibility is fast approaching. The first genetically modified babies were born in November 2018. They were modified by the researcher He Jiankui who was later convicted by the Chinese government due to the illegal nature of the experiment.
During the investigation that followed it was revealed that He Jiankui had planned to open a genetic clinic for “elite customers”. Different fertility clinics around the globe are also offering an array of genetic tests and treatments, sometimes under very limited legal scrutiny.
But this is also a technology that might help eliminate some diseases and to ease the suffering of families with genetic disorders or fertility issues. For better or worse, gene editing is poised to change ourselves and our future children. It is a future we should start thinking about as soon as possible.
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