We’re creating a positive news network. We need your help.
Genetically modified humans sounds like a term that belongs inHollywood, but its actually a very real possibility, and one thats being heavily discussed in the scientific community. Contributing to one of the most controversial topics to date, a panel of science experts in the U.S. just examined and gavetheir support for germline editing. This means that in the future, parents will likely be able to tamper with the genetics of their children pre-birth.
Germinal choice technology refers to reprogenetic technologies that enable parents to alter the genetic constitutions of their children.One of the ways this can be done is through germline editing, which is a fancier term forhuman genetic engineering. Germline editing alters the genes of a sperm or an egg, but itthen changes the future DNA of every single cell in the embryo. This means that the genetic changes made to the embryos will then affect all future generations within that family lineage.
The panels were made up of experts from two of the most prestigiousscientific institutions in the U.S., both of which recommended that germline editing be viewed as a serious option in the future and not be prohibited outright (source).
This is a dramatically different stance than the last assessment given in December 2015 by aninternational summit of scientists, who stated that it would beirresponsible to proceed with germline editing given the controversy surrounding thesubject and thesafety issues involved, all of which have yet to be resolved.
The panels discussions can be further analyzed in areportreleasedearlier this week by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine. The panel recommendedthat germline editing of early embryos, eggs, or sperm should only be permitted to prevent serious disease or disability iftheres significant scientific evidence illustrating that the procedures are safe.
Human genome editing holds tremendous promise for understanding, treating, or preventing many devastating genetic diseases, and for improving treatment of many other illnesses. . . . However, genome editing to enhance traits or abilities beyond ordinary health raises concerns about whether the benefits can outweigh the risks, and about fairness if available only to some people, explained Alta Charo, co-chair of the study committee and Sheldon B. Lubar Distinguished Chair and Warren P. Knowles Professor of Law and Bioethics, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
One of the illnesses the panel specifically mentionedthat germline editing could be used to prevent is Huntingtons disease, a progressive brain disorder that can result in uncontrollable movement, emotional issues, and loss in cognition, mostcommonly appearing in a persons thirties or forties. However, the panel was quick to note that withthese alterations could come some very serious side effects.
One of the potential risks includes developing new conditions, diseases, or mutations. If this happened, parents would have no idea until their babies are born and begin to mature.
Perhaps the most obvious risk is the societal implications associated with the genetic engineering of humans. If its an expensive process, meaningit will likely only be made available to upper class citizens who canafford it, it could create a designer class of babies with preferred qualities and genes.
These kinds of scenarios used to be science fiction; they used to be seen as far-off hypotheticalsBut actually, right now, I think theyre urgent social justice questions, said biotechnologist Marcy Darnovsky from the Center for Genetics and Society toRob Stein at NPR.
[W]ere going to be creating a world in which the already privileged and affluent can use these high-tech procedures to make children [with] biological advantages, she continued. And the scenario that plays out is not a pretty one.
Previously, it was easy for people to say, This isnt possible, so we dont have to think about it much, said MIT researcher Richard Hynes, who helped lead the committee, toThe New York Times. Now we can see a path whereby we might be able to do it, so we have to think about how to make sure its used only for the right things and not for the wrong things.
Transhumanism is a futuristic ideology which purportsthat humans willbe altered and improved usingsophisticated technologies in the future to upgrade ourintellectual, physical, and mental capabilities.Many scientists are actually in favour of this, especially as we become more technologically advanced, making this seem more realistic.
Elon Musk supportsthis movement, in fact, as he believes that human beings will eventuallyuse technology toenhance our inherent natural capabilities.
Over time we will see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence. It is all about the band width of the brain, Musk said.
Some high band width interface to the brain will be something which helps achieve symbiosis between human and machine intelligence, which solves a control and usefulness problem, he continued.
Musk has spoken about this topic on several occasions. For example, last year he explained that we should considergetting brain implants in the futurebecause, without them, we may not be able to compete with artificial intelligence (AI). He also has strong opinions about AI, arguing it could pose a threat to us if we become too dependent on it (source).
I believe that genetically engineering human beings could serve us in a way, but it could also do more harm than good. Germline editing could seriously improve the lives of many if it could prevent certain diseases, but at what cost?
In addition, the fact that a man and a woman can mate and create offspring together thats made up of a mixture of their genes is trulybeautiful. Do we really want to altersomething thats already such an incredible gift in nature?
I dont think theres a right or a wrong answer here. However, there are certainly some risks involved with genetically modifying humans.Its easy to imagine how the elite could use this to further manipulate the general population, or howit could create an even greater divide between high income and low income families. The idea of creating an Aryan or superior race could even be proposed again, which would only further perpetuate the illusions of separatism and hierarchy.
Then again, it could potentially help us further advance our consciousness and awaken our inner capabilities, especially if the technology or alterations have absolutely no health risks (zero radiation/EMF exposure, no increased risk in disease, etc.).
In either case, I believe our time would be better spent further advancing our collective consciousness.If that can be done through AI, then thats incredible and Im all for it. However, we must remember that, if we truly dial in and get in touch with ourselves energetically, we have the power to heal ourselves from within. We dont need to rely on technology to save us and prevent diseases. Yes, technology plays an important role in society, but that doesnt mean we should let it overshadow our own capabilities as spiritual beings.
Read the original here:
Genetically Modified Humans Are Coming: US Scientists Just Backed Permanent Gene Editing In Humans – Collective Evolution