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Embryo Editing

 
 
Reply Wed 2 Aug, 2017 12:00 pm
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2017/08/02/first-human-embryo-editing-experiment-in-u-s-corrects-gene-for-heart-condition/?utm_term=.5ea52a0cda1d&wpisrc=al_alert-COMBO-hse%252Bnational&wpmk=1

Someone's take on this is likely to be influenced, to some extent, on whether or not they believe a human embryo is a human life. I do but I understand others don't and I believe there really is no point in debating this because it is a matter of opinion, not scientific fact.

I would imagine that vegans would agree with me, but am not confident of that.

Quote:
“What this represents is a fascinating, important and rather impressive incremental step toward learning how to edit embryos safely and precisely,” she said. However, “no matter what anybody says this is not the dawn of the era of the designer baby.” She said that characteristics such as intelligence are influenced by multiple genes, and researchers don't understand all the components of how this is inherited much less have the ability to redesign it.


To me, this is pretty disingenuous. While this experiment may not be the last step in the advancement towards "designer babies," it is one step on what, to me, seems to be an inevitable result.

Quote:
“I don’t want to be negative with our own discoveries but it is important to inform the public of what this means,” he said. “In my opinion the percentage of people that would benefit from this at the current way the world is is rather small.” For this to make a difference, the child would have to be born through in vitro fertilization and the parents would have to know the child has the gene for a disease to get it changed. But the vast majority of children are conceived the natural way, and this correction technology would not work in utero.


So is it worth it?

Quote:
Mitalipov said he hoped regulators would provide more guidance on what should or should not be allowed.

Otherwise, he said, “this technology will be shifted to unregulated areas, which shouldn’t be happening.”


Whether they do or not, it will be shifted to areas that don't care to comply with regulations. There is too much potential for massive wealth here to stop this train.
 
centrox
 
  2  
Reply Wed 2 Aug, 2017 12:08 pm
I can see the desirability of editing out congenital defects or whatever the PC phrase is nowadays, but I'd hate to see designer babies. I would advise stiff regulation. We have an Embryology Authority in the UK (uh-oh! the State?)

InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Aug, 2017 12:29 pm
@centrox,
centrox wrote:
uh-oh! the State?

Furthermore, there's potentially massive wealth getting in the way of the State!
Finn dAbuzz
 
  -1  
Reply Wed 2 Aug, 2017 12:33 pm
@InfraBlue,
InfraBlue wrote:

centrox wrote:
uh-oh! the State?

Furthermore, there's potentially massive wealth getting in the way of the State!


Criminal elements, by definition, get in the way of the State. Whether all of those elements are harmful to society depend upon the extent of one's faith and allegiance to the State.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  -2  
Reply Wed 2 Aug, 2017 12:34 pm
@centrox,
There was a time when liberals had very little faith in the State (albeit they called it the Establishment), but Leftists, never.
0 Replies
 
Blickers
 
  3  
Reply Wed 2 Aug, 2017 02:37 pm
This board turns everything into a left-right argument. Let's have some fun. If you could design your baby, what you have it be like?
centrox
 
  3  
Reply Wed 2 Aug, 2017 02:59 pm
@Blickers,
Blickers wrote:
If you could design your baby, what you have it be like?

Just like me.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Aug, 2017 03:14 pm
@Blickers,
Blickers wrote:

This board turns everything into a left-right argument. Let's have some fun. If you could design your baby, what you have it be like?


A baby Donald Trump!
0 Replies
 
centrox
 
  3  
Reply Wed 2 Aug, 2017 03:40 pm
Maybe a baby who could speak Latin and Greek and play the piano that I could exhibit in a travelling circus and make some money.
0 Replies
 
Blickers
 
  2  
Reply Wed 2 Aug, 2017 09:37 pm
With the money ballplayers make, I'd design a kid with Willie Mays' reflexes and hitting ability.
0 Replies
 
centrox
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Aug, 2017 02:43 am
@centrox,
centrox wrote:

Blickers wrote:
If you could design your baby, what you have it be like?

Just like me.


Better still, a mixture of me and its mother. Oh, wait...
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  2  
Reply Thu 3 Aug, 2017 04:54 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
I have a thread on CRISPR somewhere. It carries a lot of thought on this same subject. I'll try to find it.

Basically, my take is that genetic modification is an inevitable and unstoppable technology which is going to change humanity and humans right down to our roots.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Aug, 2017 07:57 am
@rosborne979,
Thanks

I agree with your take and I'm not sure of how I feel about it. It's at once exciting and terrifying.
rosborne979
 
  2  
Reply Thu 3 Aug, 2017 10:05 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
Finn dAbuzz wrote:
It's at once exciting and terrifying.

I think that kind of sums it up.

I have my doubts that in 500 years humanity (and humans) will look anything like what we are familiar with today.

Putting aside human modification, it seems likely that we will be able to bio-manufacture a wide range of plants and bacteria to serve our needs. How about bacteria that eat oil or plastic? How about plants that thrive in arid conditions and produce food, or medical compounds. This Djinn is too powerful to ever be put back in the bottle, so we're just going to have to adapt to it.
rosborne979
 
  2  
Reply Thu 3 Aug, 2017 10:24 am
Here's the other CRISPR thread...

https://able2know.org/topic/322451-1
0 Replies
 
Blickers
 
  2  
Reply Thu 3 Aug, 2017 10:39 am
I think most parents will want to edit the genes so the kid doesn't yell and scream so much at age two.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Aug, 2017 10:56 am
@Blickers,
Blickers wrote:
I think most parents will want to edit the genes so the kid doesn't yell and scream so much at age two.

And the military is going to want kid/soldiers who obey orders without questions and have no ethical restraints. And even if we pass laws to prevent it, someone will still do it.

And parents are going to want to eliminate genetic diseases from their children, and Congress is going to approve it, because it's "GOOD". And the germ line will be modified, and those changes will flow through the generations, and humanity will change.

It's going to get messy. And beautiful. And there's no way to stop it.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Aug, 2017 11:01 am
@rosborne979,
rosborne979 wrote:

I have my doubts that in 500 years humanity (and humans) will look anything like what we are familiar with today.


All or a great majority of us may upload to a virtual reality universe and leave the machines in charge of the earth.

0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Aug, 2017 11:20 am
@rosborne979,
rosborne979 wrote:

And there's no way to stop it.


I agree with what you are saying but there is at least one way it will be stopped and that is if it results in a horrifying catastrophe that leads to billions of deaths. Not only would such an event decimate civilizations and the ability of scientists to pursue research, the survivors are likely to impose draconian restrictions with a "Never Again!" goal in mind. Even people opposed to this technology shouldn't hope such a brake is applied.

Another, albeit much less promising, way to slow it down if not stop it is through the marketplace. Despite there being virtually no evidence that GMOs currently present a danger to humanity, because of the mindless anti-corporate backlash and fear mongering, one food producer after another advertises their products as "GMO Free" In some cases it's unlikely their product would ever contain GMOs but it's the same thing with "Gluten Free." I think that the advantages to consumers and producers will outweigh any faddish resistance, but then I didn't think GMOs would result in a cult like opposition.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Aug, 2017 12:35 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
One of the unique aspects of CRISPR is that it's easy (relatively easy) and cheap to do. It can be done in small labs without government grants or investors. It can be done in secret, and it can be done by people who don't care about the ramifications of the outcome.

When nuclear weapons were developed, we (humanity) were lucky that they required highly enriched, expensive, rare, difficult to handle, radioactive isotopes. This meant that even though he basic "formula" for a nuclear device could be understood by a high school kid, it was still very difficult and expensive to actually produce a working device.

The same inherent throttling mechanism does not exist with CRISPR, so this one is going to infect civilization very differently.

It goes without saying that if humanity exterminates itself then the issue will go away. But it's quickly going to be easier to manipulate genetic codes and therefor organisms, than it will be to change the environment or clean up toxins. The human organism is going to become extremely robust as this technology spreads through our gene pool because we're going to need to use it to defend ourselves against a more dangerous environment and more dangerous competition from within our own populations. The Red Queen principle will drive artificial selection just as effectively as it did natural selection.

The tall, beautiful, tough-skinned, strong-boned, super-intelligent, people with enhanced lung capacity, improved immune systems, no coronary disease and no genetic diseases, will quickly come to dominate the population simply by surviving better, not to mention being on top of the list for "best mates". Then there are going to be the new races, the green-skins, the purple-hairs, the ones with tails and the ones with claws.

Sounds like sci-fi doesn't it... People haven't recognized CRISPR for what it really is yet.
 

 
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