Genetic Engineering Will Change The World Forever
Have you ever wished you could be a little stronger, a little taller or have better vision? Well thanks to science, we’re getting a little closer to that future. A gene editing tool known as CRISPR can be used to significantly impact things such as agriculture, medicine, and the human body itself. For example, German researchers have discovered they can use CRISPR to cut out cancer genes that can cause mutations. Out of the 500,000 identified cancer mutations, the researchers have discovered that they can cut out 80% of these mutations.
A problem with cancer research is distinguishing driver and passenger cells. Driver cells are mutations that actually spread the disease and passenger cells are mutated cells that do not spread the mutation further. A group of German researchers have found a way to use CRISPR to solve this problem. Leading researcher Frank Buchholz says,
“This is an important advance, because we can now rapidly separate driver from passenger mutations. This is currently a bottleneck in cancer research. Because each cancer shows a specific combination of many mutations, this scientific approach could improve cancer diagnostics as mutations that promote cancer growth could be specifically identified.” This means that researchers and doctors can now identify cancer cells that are actually harmful to the body.
In addition to being able to combat cancer CRISPR could probably also be put to use against other diseases like Herpes and HIV. CRISPR has been successfully used to cure mice of sickle cell disease, which is a fatal disease that affects millions of lives per year. Human tests are still a long way off though.
But just think that, in the near future, if you can be cured of HIV, why not throw in perfect eyesight, or increased metabolism? Why should you not take these benefits if you had the choice to? You are probably cautious about this new technology, which could be potentially dangerous; This . But as time goes on, humanity will become more and more comfortable with genetic engineering and more and more genetically modified humans will appear. A genetically modified baby has already been born (it’s not like the baby is a superhero, but it has DNA from three different people, so that makes it genetically engineered.)
If you think some more about it you might say that we could become so familiar with this technology that we could eventually live in a society with a “perfection” standard for humans. The thing is, though, we already live in that society. In Europe, 90% of pregnancies with suspected birth defects are terminated. That’s a lot!
If we were to use this technology for the benefit of the human race, we would have to use it correctly the first time. This means trusting the right people to use it correctly. If, say, a tyrannical dictator got their grubby little hands on this technology they would become unstoppable and consun (pun intended) the Earth.
If and hopefully when we use this technology to benefit the human race we could have the benefits of increased age, eyesight, stamina, attention span, etc. We wouldn’t become gods or anything like that but spending a few more decades with your loved ones is definitely a benefit.
I will leave you all with two quotes by Albert Einstein and Christopher Bond. Both have a different opinion on technological advancement. See if you can spot the difference.
“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”
“Advances in technology will continue to reach far into every sector of our economy. Future job and economic growth in industry, defense, transportation, agriculture, healthcare and life sciences is directly related to technological advancement.”
Technology will continue to advance, this is inevitable. I do think that technology advances at a rate that can be uncontrollable. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but things like military technology doesn’t really need to advance quickly. I mean, racing others to find ways to kill more people isn’t the best usage of time. But things like medicinal technologies and technologies that can open up new job industries should have top priority.