But sexual reproduction between only 2 people may eeventually be deemed inferior. This doctor found a way to make children healthier. Sex is the greatest creative force on the planet, it mixes the DNA of 2 people into novel and sometimes remarkable combinations. Without sex there’d be no michelangelo, no michal jordan, the more you jumble up DNA the more creative possibilities there are. So wouldn’t it be better if we could have more than 2 parents. Doctor Doug Turnbull of Newcastle University is a medical rebel, his team has invented a proceedure that can only be performed by breaking the law. We’re trying to prevent serious disease from happening, not right and proper to do these thechniques unless we try to prevent serious disease. Doug’s idea could cure a number of diseases that occur when our cells cant get enough power. Every cell in our body has mitochondria, which provide power by taking material from the foods we eat, and converting it to orgnaic fuel. But when Mitochondria aren’t working proeprly, our cells can barely function. This leads to diseaaes where it affects the central nervaous system, can produce epilepsy, strokes, blindness, deafness, and dementia. Mitochondria have their own seperate DNA and a child inherits all his mitochondria from the mother’s fertilized egg, but doug has discovered how to eliminate the disease. He plans to transplant the Embryo’s nucleus where ghe majority of the child’s DNA is stored, into a new cell with healthy mitochondria. While the law prevents huim from performing the whole proceudre in humans, he still does the same work in the garden. If yiou have an egg with unhealthy mitochondria, it means it won’t grow into a normal child, not a normal adult, but if you transfer material from egg with unhealthy mitochondria, to one with healthy mitochondria, then that should allow a child to flourish. We want to move the nuclear genetic material from a situation where it’s unhealthy to a place where its healthy. “A good plant still needs goood soil to grow”. But transferring the jucleus of a hyuman embryo into a donor, requires the utmost care and precision. If anything goes wrong, the infant that developes from that embryo could have sever birth defects. But doug and his colleagues are masdtering the process by performing legally permitted practice runs. Eggs are collectied from women donating their eggs for research. These eggs undergo an IVF procedure. They take a donated egg and remove the nucelus, creating an empty vessel with healthy mitochondria. They then transplant the nucleus of the defective cell into the healthy vessel. The law prevents them from putting the egg inside the mother. But if they did, that child would be unlike any other on earth. He or she would have 23000 nucleic genes from 2 parents and 13 mitochondrial genes from someone else. Genetically speaking the child would have 3 parents. Many of dougs opponents argue giving a child any 3rdd party genes is crossing a line, regardless of medical effects. But if its prefventing disease, surely thats a good thing rather than a bad thing? Biut for some biotethcicists thats unethical. Doug is involved in a consultation to change the UK govt’s law, if they’re permitted to move forward, they believe they can eradicate mitochondria disease. It will be a game on some people’s religious views. Everyone should be allowed to have these views. Doug’s procedure could also be the beginning of a new class of medicine, one where devastating diseases are subdued b y giving children genes from any number of 3rd parties. Our children could have 2 parents that raised them, and many 1000 parents that made them.
In the Sci fi movie Gattaca, a dystopian future where the character Vincent, played by ethan hawke, desperately wants to be an astronaut but is grounded by his status as a genetically inferior invalid. He decides to fight for his fate by purchasing the genes of Jerome, played by Jude Law who is a laboratory genetically gengineered super human. The story provides a cautionary tale with regards to eugenics and the bettering of the human species via sicence.The word eugenics itself is porterayed as hateful, and to even speak on it is even construed as a hate crime in many western countires. The Chinese are already leading the way, having already engineered human embryos in 2015, published in the journal of naure. They will create the first genetically advanced superhumans while westerns desperately seek equsality through mass uncontrolled immigration, affirmative action, and the welfare state. While many of China’s opponants call it the wild west of genetic research, as the chinese don’t have the same taboos around genetic enfgineering or the same ethical dilemmas that stunt technological progress. Studies have found there is significant opposition to this technology in Germasn, the UK, and the US. There are worries about “inequality” and creating a new generation of enhanced individuals who are heavily advantaged over others. According to human genetics alert director dr. David King, we need an immediate global ban on the creation of genetically modified designer babies. It is critical that we avoid a eugenic future, in whioch the 1dt worlerds can buy themselves a baby with built in genetic advantages over third world babies. They see a better world in which we are all equally poor, equally stupid, and equally inferior. But China is forcing oter countries to reluctantly join in, lest they be left behind by the genetically advantaged Chinese. In July 2017, A group of scientists in Oregon have successfully edited the genes of uman embryos, but have not let the embryos develop. They will most certainly employ this technology, forcing the rest of the world to follow suit and edit their children to be more intelligent.
We could witness a new dawn of human ingenuity, creativity, and for the first time true blssoming of human potential which hasn’t been seen since the Renaissance.
In-Vitro Fertilization allows you to choose whether your child will be male or female, but are there other things you can change?
The future of genes and designer babies is interesting. Right now we’ve got this technique called CRISPR, a very simple techniue for modifying geneic information, it’s so simple that it’s got some scientists afraid of it. But if we can alter any piece of genetic material and put it in front of us, the future will be crazy. We’ve got the ethics of genetic editing. What happens if we never want to have natural birth again, what happens if the government or insurance companies will not help people who have not done genetic modification to eliminate diseases or eliminate predispositions for things like obesity or whatever else. As we learn more about the genetic makeup of humanity and we get better at editing it, it’s only gonna get more complicated for these questions. Who owns what we created in that casse? If I send out my sperm and egg to a company, and they send me something I can use to make a baby, do they own the baby or do i. These are huge ethical quaestions nobody is even exploring yet because its considered unethical to edit human DNA, but what happens if something a little more accessible happens? Ex: genetically modified plants, plants don’t know they’re not supposed to breed because they’ve been genetically modified, what if pollen from GMO plants get on nonGMO plants. That actually already happing right now, it happens in farmers fields from time to time with GMOP corn. What if we create something that’s so good it becomes an invasive species, destroying nautural non GMO populations. TYhink aboutn the movie Gattaca, its a perfect society where the best of humanity are born every day and that might work in sci fi but in real life there are billions of people on Earth, are we gonna replace them all with designer babies? Are we only gonna breed designer humans from now on? Sure, there’s no disease, no problems with genetic disorders. But imagine a world wher everyone was the same, we had no variation in our genetic diet, we have no creativity because people wouldn’t be that different we’d all be pretty much average, there’d be no excitement, there’d be a bunch of pretty people happily going about their lives, but you can only have so many lacross teams before you get bored. There are also positives though. Imagine what you could do with this for life extension. What if we could alter T cells, a type of immune cell, a macrophage that could then attack cancer cells or attack diseases, we could program them to do that using genetic modification. Sand cells which help the heart pump are essentially our natural pacemaker. We’ve got herpes genetically modified to fight skin cancer, they’ve modified HIV to fight off incurable leukemia and it may have worked in a young girl. We’ve modified Measels virus to fight blood cancer, they’ve modified polio to fight brain ancer. Gene modification may be dangerous precarious, and borderline unethical, but it’s ultimately the future of humanity. But, gene modification might also end humanity, the lack of geentic variatioon makes us vulnerable to disease.
What if the human gene pool, create children that are free of the genes that cause inherited diseases like hiuntingtons or certain kinds of cancer by modifiying the DNA in eggs, sperm or embryos,wellm, it’s possible. “Designer babies” or genetically moidified humans, to scientists its known as germline engineering, referring to the germ cells, the sperm and egg, which come together to create an embryo. Putting an end to heritable diseases sounds like a crowdpleasing idea, but germline engineering is pretty contraversial, 40 countries either discourage or outright ban the practice, yet we’re inching closer and closer to germline enginerring experiments on humans. This prompts some geneticists in the new issue of the journal nature to call for a moratorium on germoline engineering. They believe more people need to be involved in the discussion before we start editing people’s sperm and egg cells. So, how does it work? Since scientists first began sequencing the human geneome in 1990, they’ve identified thousands of genes that increae our risks for certsain diseases. Take ovrarian and breasst cancers which is linked to a mutation in a gene called BRCA-1. Which got scientists thinking, what if we could swap out that mutated gene and put in a new one, and owhat if you replace the mutant gene before the embro even develops. like a sperm or an egg cell. Then you could use that cell to create an embryo with a healthy BRCA-1 gene, drastically reducing the risk of those cancers, and not just for one embryo, but for it’s offspring too. In 2013, scientists found a way to do this using a system called CRISPR, the technology is based on the way bacteria defend themselves against viruses, when a bacterium detects that a virus has infiltrated it, it releases wahats called Guide RNA a strand of genetic information that matches part of the virus’s DNA, and attached to it is an enzyme called Cas9, which cuts up the virus. The GuideRNA acts like a nhoming device, leading the enzyme to the matching segment of viral DNA, when the 2 strands meet, the enzyme goes into action acting like a pair of scisors, to snip out the viral DNA, rendering it useless. CRISPR was invented when scientists discovered they could modify guide RNA to find any sequnce of DNA in any organism, including humans. So theoretically, they could inject a segnment of DNA that represents a healthy unmutated gene that would replace a mutated one in an egg or sperm cell. The genome of that germ cell would be permenantly edited and so would all the cells in the organism that went on to form. The method has already been tested on rats and monkeys and lately talk ahas turned to see if it’s possible wioth human germ cells. Researchers at Harvard for instance have considered obtaining an egg from a patient with ovarian cancer and using CRISPR to replace the BRCA-1 gene in the egg with a gene without the mutation. That’s when 5 prominent geneticists showed up in the journal of nature calling for a moratorium. They say germline engineering is unpredictable. In an experiment on monkes done at MIT, it onl suceeded 20-40% of the time, and when it doesn’t work it can deleted parts of the genome that weren’t targeted, creating new mutations.
If you edit the DNA of a person before they’re born, you’re not just editing that person, but all their offspring. What if a mutation given to them for short term benefit turns out to have unforseen consequences in the long run? Is it crossing a line to edit an embryo’s DNA to change how the person might look or think before they have a say in the matter? What if we want our kids to be intelligent but they wouldn’t want it. Intelligence has been highly correlated with depression, would it be ethical to bring more intelligent people in to the world just because we want more geniuses to make us new technology? As long as we don’t end up as splicers, I think we’re good. Selecting for traits in our offspring isn’t really anything new, that’s why we don’t have sex with unattractive people. What is new,is the level of detail we can specify in our children. Instead of having sex with someone of east asian descent to get their genes for black hair, you can just screen a hundred embryos for the ones likely to have black hair. In 1978 a company called genentech inserted a DNA sequence that coded for human insulin into the DNA of an e coli virus. Before that, scientists had to use insulin harvested from pigs. Today almost all insulin in the world is human insulin produced by these genetically engineered bacteria. If
But to repair EVERY cell in the body, human genetic modification has to be done at the earliest stages of embryonic development, and those changes will be passed on to future generations. CRISPR might one day be used in human embryos to make people better, we can also use it to make better people. If parents want a blue eyed baby, could they order the changes made in the OCA2 gene to create it? If they wanted a more muscular baby, could they edit it’s myostatin gene. Beyond curiong diseases, CRISPR makes us ask tough questions… who decides what IS a better baby? Is it an east asian baby? A white baby? Who decides what the best eye color is? What if parents favor one gender over another, like when the chinese during the one child policy would commit infanticide on female babies during the one child policy? What if only the rich can afford to edit genes? Should parents be allowed to determine their baby’s genetic future? Maybe they already do thanks to birth control and techniques like in vitro fertilization. Welcome to a new evolutionary balace, on one side, most of nature, with natural selection and random mutation, on the other side is us, a single species with tools that could match or maybe exceed the speed or power of evolution as we know it. What’s clear is the ability to control unrandom mutation and mnatural selection in humans. It’s no longer a question of if we can, its a question of if we should.
The CRISPR system, a genome editing tool developed in 2015 which could have major ramifications for humanity, the animal kingdom, and beyond. Genome editing technology isnt anything new, but the fact that CRISPR is so efficient, cheap, and accurate, means we could be about to see this groundbreaking technique used in commercial, agriculture, and what some would say immoral new fields. Designer babies, if you’re overweight, have a big nose, you probably blame your parents, you probably blame your parents, after all it was their inferior DNA that created you. But it’s not like there was much they could od about it. Soon all of this could change, in Feburary 2016 scientists at the UK francis institute were given only the second ever licensed testing of genome editing technology on human embryos. They’refociusing on genes whic cause miscarriages and fetal defects. This could lead tyo a pandoras box of horrifying designer baby possibilities. Super rich superhumans, when genome editing technology becomes commercially available, there’s only one section of society who’ll be able to afford it at first, the super rich, they’ll make their children smart, more handsom, more athletic, and will never age. And when the gap grows between ordinary people and these genetically engineered superhumans, we could end up to a society with too species, where one species rules the other. This is a trend we’ve seen many times before, no matter which country you live in the rich can send their kids to the best schools and colleges and get the best medical care. Add in the possibility to create perfect human species.
Onn the other hand, it’s the solution to Idiocracy. Our children are getting stupider and stupider. Global IQ has been falling since the start of the 21st century.
You and your wife are having a child, and we live in the era of free market eugenics. You get to create six zygotes, measure the genetic code of each one of them, and decide which one comes to fruition. Now you’re still a geneticist, you’re gonna take the 8 zygots, measure which one has the best potential to be an ubermencsch, the operfect combination of your genes and your lover, and that’s the one you’re gonna choose to be born.
We can select traits like gender, hair color, and eye color. This could lead to a new kind of eugenics, in vitro eugenics, as opposed to the in vivo eugenics of sterilizing people. Luckily for the poor, the traits the rich elites would want, genes for height, intelligence, and physical ability are so complex and are the result of so many genes that, for now, you’d just be better off marrying a tall or smart person.
I suppose we ought to raise the ethical issues. The ethics of using gene tailoring to enance human inteligence, strength or endurance, is essentially the same for using cybernetics to do it, or performance enhancing drugs. These are not limited to just genetic engineering, for instance te ethics of using gene tailoring to enance human intelligence, strengt, or intelligence is te same for using cybernetics to do it, or performance enhancing drugs. The second is that these were not new arguments. W’e’ve been using rituals and erbs to make people healthier or smarter since long before we had sicence. W e have been using selective breeding of plants, animals, and even people for quite a long time. Whether Science and tecnology make things easier and actually work is irrelevant. In the past, we have tried to do these things, sometimes it didn’t work, even if maybe we thought it did, like many of our folk remedies or superstitions. The dogs we have today look nothing like their wolf ancestors only a few millenia ago. Sometiems it did work but imperfectly, also like many of our folk remedies and superstitions. Whether it worked or how well it worked, does not change the ethics of doing it, for the same reason trying to murder someone with a stage prop sword and failing is still attempted murder. We can say it is unethical to modify children so they grow up to be geniuses with the bodies of supermodels and professional athletes, we can say this doubly so because it pressures other people to do iut to their own children, for that matter, what right do we have to modify a person without their informed consent, a thing that is impossible to do with a young child. We already do these things and have for a long time, this does not make it ethical. We do a lot of things twe probably should cease doing for ethical reasons, and we have tons of things we used to do and stopped doing because they were unethical. And yet, we can frame many of the ethical issues of genetic engineering in the context of existing ethical issues. Throughout history we had tons of cultures that engaged in selective breeding for traits, and they knew they were doing. People often do make decisions for their children, SOMEONE has to, and often those are not decisions we would applaud. People already do feel pressured to do things to benefit their children which are questionable and DO try to do things to give their child an edge, or make sure they can keep up with the others. The line between encouraing your child to succeed and pressuring your child to do so is decidedly thin and ill definied. Is it ethical to alter to DNA? I don’t know, but we’ve been doing it delivberatly for generations and the only difference is that we didn’t know how DNA worlked. Is it ethical to alter tDNA without their consent? I don’t know, but it seems to be akin to any other situation where you would act without the target’s consent. It may be wrong to force someone to have surgery to remove a brain tumor, even though it is clearly damaging their judgement and ability to make informed decisions. But if that is not unethical, why would it be unethical to give gene therapy to correct a similar ailment like dementia. Similarly, if it is okay for people to refuse medical treatments for their children, then it would be for gene therapy too i should think. And vice versa. If a parent CAN refuse a lifesaving procedure forn their child, then they can also refuse the gene therapy which might fix the defect. If we cannot ban such things as organ donation, then on what basis would we ban the gene therapy equivalent? If we can performance enhancing drugs, can we ban performance enhancing genes? And what is the difference between te 2 wic migt make one bad but te oter not? It ma be unethical to tamper wit te genes of plants and animals but we’ve done tis for a long time too and not with the organism’s best interest in mind, see dolly, but our own interests. I cannot say I approve of such things, but be they right or wrong, they seem little different than intentional genetic alteration, except again that we are much more skilled at doing it. When it comes to bioforming, altering organisms to live in alien environments, I am not sure what the difference is between altering a dog to live on planet duyne where it never rains, or altering the local wildlife to adapt to it raining. But it seems no more or less ethical to wipe out the giant desert sandworms, or to tinker with them so they can live in oceans not just seas of sand.
With IVF you ca get pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, PGD, is a technique for weeding out flawed embryos. At first PGD was used to identify and reject embryos that had fatal infant diseases and was only offered to high risk couples. But now it is being used to select an embryo based on a wider scope of criteria, gender, non-fatal diseases, and disorders. Just imagine what the possibilites are going to be in the future for embryo shopping, Hair color, IQ, athleticism, etc. Now why would any practical and weralthy person choose to have a baby the old way when you don’t know what you’re going to get, when you can create your own custom kid. Think of the children, would you send your spawn to school with a bunch of genetic superkids?
For the very first time a team of british researchers successfully fertilized a human egg in a dish and transplanted the embryo into the mother’s body. That mother gave birth to a baby named Louise Brown, who is now almost 40 years old. The doctor who pioneered the procedure won a nobel prize for it in 2010. That proceddure is now known as in-vitro fertilization or IVF. But A lot has changed since Louise was born, by studying IVF for the past few decades, we’ve made it a lot more effective with fewer complications and better success rates. There are all kind sof reasons 2 people might have trouble concieving naturally, like low sperm count or low quality eggs. By controlling the fertilization process in the lab and selecting the best embryos, doctors can use IVF to help people with fertility issues have a biological child. The basic proceudre involves a few main steps. To do the procedure: First doctors make extra ovarian follicles form, they contain immature eggs, or oocytes. the process is called ovarian hyperstimulation, where they give the patient hormone injection, specifically hormones called gonadotropins. They control the sex hormone levels and egg sperm production. Ovarian hyperstimulation stops the natural menstral cycle and causes ovaries to form multiple follicles. With all those lots of follicles, lots of eggs can be collected at once, usually between 15 and 30, way more than a single egg released in a natural cycle. Once it forms, doctors give an injection of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin, which makes the eggs mature. Then they collect the eggs and incubate them with sperm in a special solutioon. Once the eggs are fertilized, they are grown in a dish for a few days as they start dividng. Doctors choose the embryos that look the best for implantation and implant them through the cervix. Sometimes they’ll implant many embryos at once to increase the chances. ISince the 1970s researchers have been working on advancing the technology behind IVF,
In 1978, Louise Brown became the first baby to be born by in vitro ferilization or IVF. Her birth revolutionized the field of reproductive medicine. Since 1 in 8 couples have difficulty concieving and lowers the birth rate of a country, the demand for IVF has been growing. IVF is so common that more than 5 million babies have been bron throught his technology. We first need to take a look at the natural process of babymaking, it all starts in the brain. 15 days before a fertilization can happen, the anterior pituitary gland secretes follicle stimulating hormone, FSH, which rippens follicles of the ovary to release estrogen. Each follicle contains an egg and only one follicle become mature. The hormone not only helps coordinate growth, it also communicates to the brain how well its developing. When the estrogen level is high enough, the anterior pituitary releases a surge of leutinizing hormone, LH, which triggers ovulation and causes the follicle to rupture and release the egg. Ince the egg leaves the ovary, it goes to the fallopian tube, if not fertilized in 24 hours, the egg will die and the system will reset itself to create a new egg. To mimic this in a l;ab for IVF patients, FSH is administered at higher than naturally occuring, to cause controlled overstimulation of the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. The eggs are then retrieved right before ovulation while the woman is under anesthesia. In the lab, the identified eggs are stripped of surrounding cells and prepared for fertilization in a petri dish. A needle then places a single sperm inside the egg. After fertilization, embryos can then be screened for genetic preferences. Frozen, and then delivered to the uterus via catheter. Because of better genetic testing, increased accessibility, and diminishing cost, its not inconceivable that artificial babymaking like IVF can outpace natural reproduction in years to come.
Imagine you are soon to be a parent, your doctor informs you that if you wanted, you could chose certian feautre of your child’s biology, you could choose how genetically prone to depression they will be, their levels of anxiety, jelousy, anger, and even their pain thershold. Would you choose a high likelihood of chronic depression, how about panic attacks? Probably not. Spearheaded by philosopher david pearce, transhumanism aims to phase out suffering. He argues that, ultimately, all our conscious states, our feelings moods, and emotions are all an expression of our brain chemistry. For Pearce, natural selection hasn’t designed us to be happy, it’s designed us to be good at surviving and passing on genes. A species that is permenantly anxious and discontented will have a higher motivation to watch out for predators and take precautions for survival. But in today’s world, these emotions are vicious, our biology has barely changed in 200,000 years. Which means that whilst culture and society has arguably made progress, we are still the same aggressive jealous savanna dwelling hunter gatherer. This is why pearce argues that if we ever hope to increase the wellbeing of our species, we will have to edit our genes. Minimizing our suffering and the suffering of those we care about is a crucial part of what drives us. Hence, so called “Abolitionists” argue that we start using modern technologies to do exactly that, minimize and eventually abolish suffering. Ushering in an era of so called “Super well bbeing”. At present every child is a roll of the genetic dice. Pearce argues that the leat we can do is load the dice in our favor to create happier, healthier, and longer living humans. But might our compassion, curiousity, and knowledge become secondary to our hedonism? If we’re all content, why visitt the stars, and isn’t suffering sometimes a good thing?
A lot of people have problms with designer babies, parents can say “doctor we want our baby to be a musical genius, please edit the genes so they have the same genes as the Bach family”. It horrifies many people, but its not totally obvious why that’s any more horrifying than parents who are ambitious for the musical future of their child, forcing the child to practice the piano 4 hours a day. There are differences of course, that forcing it to practice is unpleasent for the child but it doesn’t go to the next generation, but changing the difference does, so there is an argument there. But people who shudder with horror at a designer baby who is a musical genius, why don’t they shatter in horror at forcing a child to have music lessons or practice music when it doesn’t want to? There is an Should companies be allowed to offer this service? Should it be regulated? It won’t matter, this technology is very easy to use and is widely available. Other countries have started, so this future is here whether we like it or not. The only real question left is what kind of traits should we hold in high regard?
Indeed, genetic defects will – or rather can – be eliminated in 40 years. We already have the ability to not only look for the most common chromosomal problems, like Down’s syndrome, but at each and every gene as well as the areas between the genes. In 40 years tests will be more accurate and the results available immediately, making it possible to identify embryos with disease or a high risk of developing problems later in life. While there are certainly ethical difficulties about this, it is hard to argue against choice if it is informed.
Hopefully by 2056 – and certainly within 100 years – we will also have the ability to correct abnormal genes either in the embryo or foetus using gene editing techniques like CRISPR. The foetal genome can be cut at any desired location and abnormal genes removed or new normal genes added. In this way, babies could be “treated” in the uterus, giving them a chance of a healthy life. The ethics aren’t straightforward but it could be argued this is in fact better than current screening programmes designed to identify and exclude rather than save embryos with problems.