Genetically has a very bright future, they have
Genetically engineering human embryos can both be useful and a curse to society. Before we can tackle this question, we need to understand what genetic engineering of embryos is. Genetic engineering is when you alter a living organism’s DNA, you can, “extract DNA from another organism’s genome and combining it with the DNA of that individual.” (yourgenome.org) This process is done by a fairly new process called CRISPR/Cas9 (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats), it is cheap and somewhat reliable, it is a technique in which scientists can make edits to any living organism’s DNA in specific regions. (strands). Editing DNA can be very good, it can save and improve many peoples lives, possibly today or the distant future, but there are also several implications when you are editing DNA as well, physically and socially. Currently, the United States of America has no laws or regulations on genetically engineering human embryos, other than not funding the research at all and requiring permission for clinical trials (Letzter), while the European Union has banned the practice altogether. China has ambiguous rules, researchers in China ask permission and follow their government’s guidelines. (Gould / Loria) There are numerous effects of genetic engineering to answer the question whether it is ethical or not, and there is plenty of evidence to back it up. Let us begin with the positive effects of genetically engineering human embryos. It is possible to heal almost all hereditary diseases carried from generations of families, like cancer, down syndrome, and bubble boy disease (A disease where your immune system is in egone or has little presence, and the only way to heal this is through bone marrow transfusion, which can be done with genetic engineering.) A study found that “Scientists at Oregon Health and Science University, with colleagues in California, China and South Korea, reported that they repaired dozens of embryos, fixing a mutation that causes a common heart condition that can lead to sudden death later in life.” (Pam Belluck) This study proves that genetic engineering has a very bright future, they have the report that shows us that it was successful, and if those embryos grew into babies, those bad genes carrying those diseases would no longer be passed to the next generation. This study by itself will make genetic engineering possibilities endless, a lot of diseases will be gone in the distant future, meaning that the next generation of humans will be healthier and possibly live even longer than the last generation. Thus raising more questions, can it do more than fix hereditary diseases? This process the scientists conduct is completely safe for the eggs and embryos, in an experiment, scientists experimented on two “non-viable” embryos. Meaning that the edited embryos cannot be grown into a live baby, this is because the egg was fertilized by two sperm, meaning biologically, this cannot produce a baby. (Brown) Meaning that there was nothing to create or produce, everything is still in research, (almost) everywhere in the world has a ban on this practice on these types of experiments to grow into an actual live baby. There is (for now) no intention to actually implant an embryo into a womb of a mother. In an experiment at Oregon Health and Science University ” have broken new ground both in the number of embryos experimented upon and by demonstrating that it is possible to safely and efficiently correct defective genes that cause inherited diseases.” (Connor) They have corrected the defective genes, and it is the first time they have successfully conducted this experiment in the United States. Though this experiment was a success, there was no intention at all to actually implant the embryo into a womb, which means the embryos are destroyed and there is no pain involved, though they did allow it to grow a couple of days before they were destroyed. Like the facts say, right now it is just research. There is currently no “genetically modified humans” at this very moment or anytime in the distant future, but we are inching closer toward that goal. There are some side effects toward genetically engineering human embryos, it will create a gap between people who are modified and those who are not modified. Which will create a new type of product called “designer babies.” You basically get to select what kind of traits you want your baby to have or not have like; Gender, Intelligence, diseases, personality, etc… (http://Futureforall.org) This will indirectly turn your future children into objects because the parents get to choose what they want, rather than what the DNA says. It is hard knowing that (in the example) you were genetically modified, and you had no say whether you wanted to be modified or not, meaning that you and your future generation of families would have to live out the consequences of your parent’s genetic tampering. (http://www.actforlibraries.org) Though there is a cost to this, an estimated cost of editing an embryo will cost up to $100,000. This means that only the wealthy could afford this process. This will create a divide between wealthy and the not so wealthy, because if many people can not afford this new process, this will make certain characteristics “unfit” for society, and this will deepen the divide between people in society, and it is pretty divided today. (Potenza)Though genetically modifying living organisms, especially humans are relatively new. There are many flaws in the process, which raises many concerns for parents that plan on having children. The process, as of now, is imperfect, and it is now unsafe for clinical usage. In an article, “researchers reported “off-target” effects,” This means the editing sometimes occurred at the wrong place in the DNA and that it wasn’t occurring in all embryos equally. This means that we cannot predict issues when editing DNA, all the mistakes are unpredictable. This technology is, “is completely unknown.”(Brown) Until we can get a good grasp on what we are editing and fully understand the effects of our editing, not many people will be confident in this process with their future child. More issues include that, ” the desired DNA changes are picked up only by some cells, not all. When genetic changes can be passed down from generation to generation, even a small mistake could change the human gene pool forever — and we don’t really know what the consequences might be.” (Potenza) Because once again this is relatively new to us, and we cannot predict any errors that will happen in the editing process. As of now, we are just researching, and we should continue to research until we get a good idea on how to safely make these edits. A great example of this comes from the Pew Research Center any states that “41% of U.S. adults say gene editing would be more acceptable to them if people could choose which diseases and conditions are affected by the genetic modifications. By the same token, if the effects of gene editing would be permanent and irreversible, 37% of adults say gene editing would be less acceptable.” (http://www.pewinternet.org) A small, but consistent ethical problem in genetically modifying human embryos is that it challenges other religious beliefs and evolution as a whole (even though most religions do not believe in evolution) We will take a look at some views of other religious views on genetic engineering, on one hand, Christians view genetic engineering as ‘playing God’ as God creates people in his own image, and modifying his genetics that God created would be flawed. So, changing “God’s” image, you are challenging the way God has created this world. Though, some do believe that if used for healing purposes, yes it is justified, said from the Church of England, “We also continue to be concerned about purely ‘social’ justifications of PGD (for example, for family balancing)… Genetics needs to develop for the purpose of therapy, not enhancement.” (https://www.bbc.co.uk) Catholics do not believe in the research at all, they believe that “life begins at conception and therefore life is being destroyed. This is against one of 10 commandments that ‘thou shall not kill.'” They are referring to the usage of the human embryos when they are destroyed once they are finished experimented on, after they are destroyed, meaning Catholics do not agree with the practice even with the possible benefits of genetic engineering. (https://hubpages.com/) Also, 50 percent of Catholics would not want their baby’s genes to be edited. (http://www.pewinternet.org) Muslim beliefs are very similar to Christian beliefs, they believe life begins at conception and God’s image is the perfect image, meaning that you should not edit it. They consider scientists who conduct this research is attempting to “replace God,” something that is considered a sin in Islam. In Islam, genetic engineering is only acceptable only when you are curing a disease to save the babies life, this is stated in the Quran and Hadith teach that Muslims should do all they can to cure disease. (https://hubpages.com/) Only 26 percent of Americans think altering the genes of unborn babies should be legal. (Begley) There is a lot more to this statistic than you think. A study showed that 42 percent of Americans know nothing about genetic engineering (http://www.pewinternet.org/), which can be a contributing reason why only a small percent of Americans think that this practice should be legal. If the people educated themselves to fully understand what the process is, the numbers should be a little different.There is plenty evidence that proves why genetic engineering human embryos can be a great idea and not so good idea. There was plenty of evidence that it proved that genetically engineering human embryos is essential to the future of the world. Not only it has the capability to heal the most unforgiving diseases, with that, it will increase the lifespan of the human by up to 50 years. Like it is stated, it is used for research purposes only at this very moment, there is (hopefully) no scientist to really to do a clinical trial on an actual mother because the problems that could happen are very unpredictable. Until we can fully understand how DNA works and how editing the DNA will affect the embryo, it is best to continue research in an environment where the embryos are safe, where they are in a state that they do not have a heartbeat, but it is safe to get rid of if something were to happen. With that, we need to find ways to convince local governments to fund these types of research to help find creative ways to make our lives better, and healthier.