CRISPR tech is a gene editing technology that allows for targeting of a specific set of genetic rules or gene. This means that we have the ability to edit out disease carrying capacity of mosquitoes or even genetic disorders from ourselves. By doing so we could save countless lives, eliminating many of the diseases that proliferate underdeveloped countries and the genetic disorders which the health field of the developed world has no answer to. However, there is huge risk of unintended consequences with CRISPR. The tech itself has not been around very long, only since 2005 have we had CRISPR Cas9 which allows for gene editing. This means that CRISPR has not had a chance to be tested to the largest extent and as the consequences of using CRISPR outside of the laboratory have effects that span farther into the future than we can even imagine. CRISPR is one of those things that’s bad if you do and bad if you don’t. IF we do use it we save lives in the present but change the human genome forever with potentially catastrophic consequences, however if we don’t use it people we could save now die. How is one supposed to rationalize that decision?
CRISPR has the potential to generate “designer babies” where parents are able to pick and choose what traits their children receive and which they don’t. Honestly, although this concern is valid I don’t think that humans will take gene editing to that extent. I think we will use it to eradicate diseases (if all of the ethical dilemmas are solved and the research demonstrates that there are no major side effects) and I foresee a slippery slope to using it to enhance things like intelligence and height, etc. I think we like to think of our children as little versions of ourselves, for this reason modifying our children to be dramatically different from ourselves seems to be against our nature. We want to pass on not only our way of life, our culture, to our children but also the things that make us, and that is tied to our genetics. I think we won’t go to the point of designing our kids, although it seems reasonable that there would be a struggle here, the slippery slope of removing disease to enhancing beneficial traits is one that we could easily fall down. I guess I’m not sure if we’ll end up with eugenics all over again. Maybe I have too much faith in humanity but I think we value our culture and individualism too much to become one homogenized mass via market forces.