Is it the start of the slippery slope - hitmen and soldiers bred with enhanced genetics, people bred to work in extreme environments etc - things that are so common in science fiction and computer games may become reality after all.
The "Objectors" Can object all they want - but things move forward regardless. Welcome to the WRATH OF KHAN
Brian M
The morality of this is pretty well black and white for two reasons
1. Switching off a gene (even its a natural mutation) by artificial means can't be justified for something that might not even be an issue for the child.
2. A mutation (natural or artificially introduced) might help with one disease but what's the cost? For example the natural mutation that causes sickle cell anemia which reduces the effect of malaria causes many other issues, so has no advantage just lots of problems in areas where malaria is not an issue.
To do this type of experiment is just wrong, worse without ethical and debated discussions.
If this had been to correct a defect in a gene, maybe there is a moral argument, but for this its just wrong for the individual and society.
Captain Danger
Wrong or not it is the future. If parents can gain and advantage for their kids they will and as a nation we cannot stand by and let other nations gain this technological edge because we have "ethical" qualms. If we do not keep up then we risk being delegated to the dust bin of history. It is similar to any arms race. On the other side of things I have often wondered why there is such an objection to improving the human breed. We do it with domestic animals all the time breeding in traits or characteristics that we want. Why not the same with people? Why did the United States become such a power so quickly. Certainly the political environment helped but perhaps there are other reasons. The type of people that had the courage and self confidence to immigrate concentrated in one place may also be a factor. Certainly not a controlled experiment but something to consider. As this gene editing is developed perhaps something similar awaits for the nations embrace it.
You quote a Darren Saunders comparing this work to eugenics. He must be a so called ethicist, since he apparently cannot distinguish the difference in individuals making decisions for themselves and some authority imposing decisions on others.
It's one thing to question whether current gene editing technology is mature enough to work with humans. It's quite different to argue that we should never do it. "Designer babies" are inevitable.
You know what's wrong? The snail's pace at which we pursue these life changing solutions. This is the future, we will be born without horrible diseases. Of course we will all be blonde, blue eyed and perfect, but who cares???
"'By disrupting the CCR5 gene in a healthy human, they will likely become more sensitive to a variety of much more common infections, and something relatively benign like the flu may now be lethal,' says Neely."
I wish there'd been any evidence presented in the article to bolster the claim that this increased sensitivity is "likely." As it stands, Neely seems just to be invoking a bogeyman.
It's scary stuff, but it seems like a natural progression considering everything else we have done. Now biological evolution that we deal with won't be random, and it will also have exponential growth as a consequence. Maybe something can finally compete with silicon.
I don't think the US has much standing when it comes to ethics -- making babies immune to a deadly disease is much less unethical than tear-gassing children. Yes, we need international discussions on how to use, and not use, this technology, and who gets to decide for the fetus. But it is better to be out in the open where we can watch and try to prevent misuse than have it go underground. Everything has both good and bad sides -- do we trust humans enough to use it for good only? and who decides what is "good"?
if we can abort fetuses "ethically", surely we should be able to edit their genes as well.