Editing the human genome sounds promising, it points to being able to eliminate or alter genetic diseases and do it in a way that can be inherited. Imagine being a parent and the carrier of a disease, wouldn’t you want your child to be protected. But editing the human genome has grave consequences we have not yet identified. For example the same gene editing technique could also foster beauty or intelligence. Ethicists who’ve been aware of these issues for decades, are beginning to tackle the potential problems. Scientists do too. Actually genes have been edited on animals, but not yet on humans, yet it is believed that this could be possible soon. The United States and most European countries already have some safeguards but many countries don’t. Since the technique could change the human genome for future generations and in essence alter the course of evolution, many are concerned. That is why a group of scientists including the inventors of the gene editing technique have written a paper published in Science magazine calling for a worldwide moratorium on its use. George Q. Daley, a stem cell biologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and a member of the group asking for the moratorium succinctly summarized the consequences of the technique,” It raises the most fundamental of issues about how we are going to take the dramatic step of modifying our own germline and in a sense take control of our genetic destiny, which raises enormous peril for humanity.”
It’s comforting that with those scientists who at present know the most about the technique, wisdom is prevailing.