Author Topic: Genetic editing and manipulation, is it morally acceptable?  (Read 93 times)

Dave

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Genetic editing and manipulation, is it morally acceptable?
« on: September 28, 2017, 12:26:15 AM »
In tbe BBC news it was said that some people are concerned about the use of gene editing to prevent disease. This after the news that the Chinese have made another "breakthrough" in "surgery" on embryos. I cannot seem to find anything specifically online st the moment, most items are a month or mire old.

It seems evident that if there are still "breakthroughs" to be found with all the brain power and finance being thrown into this pot this will happen.

My personal stance is that genetic editing for the eradication of disease is accetable but for "cosmetic" reasons it is on dodgy ground. Stretching this to the sci-fi scenario of the "super-human" has distinct moral questions.

Any thoughts?


[Fixed thread title. - R]
« Last Edit: September 28, 2017, 08:10:09 AM by Recusant »
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Re: Genetic editing and manipulation, is it norally acceptsble?
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2017, 01:40:05 AM »
All technology will be abused however hard you try to regulate it, even banning it won't deter people from using it. Best get used to a brave new world where designer babies for the rich and powerful are the norm.
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Dave

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Re: Genetic editing and manipulation, is it norally acceptsble?
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2017, 02:20:58 AM »
All technology will be abused however hard you try to regulate it, even banning it won't deter people from using it. Best get used to a brave new world where designer babies for the rich and powerful are the norm.

Yeah, more or less come to that conclusion. Either designer babies or, getting further from current reality, "super humans" of some sort - pain free soldiers etc. The former can be legislated against to frighten most off, if the authorities are willing to employ very severe sanctions against both the surgeon and the parents - like 20 years minimum mandatory. OK, first you have to catch them . . .

The latter is more difficult, who can monitor or control what happens in some government, or government supported private, lab in a remote place?
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Davin

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Re: Genetic editing and manipulation, is it norally acceptsble?
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2017, 07:31:37 AM »
We have so much more to learn about gene editing that we probably have at least two centuries before we can make designer babies without major defects. Editing a bad gene that has been well studied for a while is one thing. Trying to design a human at least 20,000 times more complicated.

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Dave

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Re: Genetic editing and manipulation, is it norally acceptsble?
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2017, 07:36:57 AM »
We have so much more to learn about gene editing that we probably have at least two centuries before we can make designer babies without major defects. Editing a bad gene that has been well studied for a while is one thing. Trying to design a human at least 20,000 times more complicated.

 :devil2: But will that stop some people trying?
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Recusant

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Re: Genetic editing and manipulation, is it morally acceptable?
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2017, 08:22:31 AM »
In regard to the broad question, I personally don't have any moral objections to genetic editing and manipulation per se.

The specific advance made by the Chinese that apparently prompted the BBC story that Dave heard is described on the BBC website story below:

"DNA surgery on embryos removes disease" | BBC

Quote
Precise "chemical surgery" has been performed on human embryos to remove disease in a world first, Chinese researchers have told the BBC.

The team at Sun Yat-sen University used a technique called base editing to correct a single error out of the three billion "letters" of our genetic code.

They altered lab-made embryos to remove the disease beta-thalassemia. The embryos were not implanted.

The team says the approach may one day treat a range of inherited diseases.

[Continues . . .]

Nor can I find any moral objection to such attempts. Finally, as genetic manipulation techniques advance I can foresee abuses of those techniques which I would object to, but it's what I would consider abuse of the technique, not the method in itself.
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Re: Genetic editing and manipulation, is it morally acceptable?
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2017, 12:58:16 PM »
Fascinating topic (thanks, Dave)

I'd be ok with gene editing to eliminate disease, and even for some enhancements.

I think where it gets dodgy is where we define "defects" to be "corrected" (ie. skin color, sexual orientation, etc.)

I also agree with Davin in that this type of procedure is *way* more complicated than scientists first imagined.

Will be interesting to see where it leads, though...