Genetic Enhancement – Yay or Nay?

Genetic Enhancement

Would you want to alter your future children’s genes to make them smarter, stronger, or better looking? This is the question that visits us at least once in our lives. I can still remember my science teacher in high school telling us what future people will look like – grotesque, big-headed, small arms and legs, small torso – generally a small body, wide eyes, and somewhat telepathic. At least, that was based on a predetermined conclusion by early scientists, and during that time, gene editing was in its nascent stage. However, gene editing is now finally realised.


Last year, the CRISPR cas9 gene editing tool was born. Say what? You’ll going to be hearing a lot of it. Essentially, CRISPR is a tool used to edit DNA to alter certain traits like strength, intelligence, and morality. If it sounds like an RPG, it’s because it is. Yes, people, we’re playing God now. Hey, I want my child to be a warrior class, so can we bump the STR trait up to maximum? Put a little INT points in there as well; I don’t want him to be a buffoon.


There are many ethical qualms regarding gene editing, so let’s explore those first.

Science-savvy people and creationists may be asking what’s so wrong with designer babies? Well, selecting the best embryos for implantation based on non-medical traits like appearance or intelligence sounds a lot like discrimination. It’s because it is. Is it so wrong to produce imperfect people for the world? That’s one way of looking at it.

Another big concern is safety. Tinkering with the human genome has a f&ckton of risks involved. We’re tampering with the natural order of things here, people. Of course, the risks are bound to be immense.

However, I think the biggest fear of anti-gene enhancement movement is that these altered humans will have an unfair advantage over the general average population. It’s like creating a shitload of X-men, leaving the rest of the population in tragic mediocrity. It’ll be a dystopia after all.


Now let’s look at the pros.

The most powerful reason on pursuing genetic enhancement is to cure diseases. Cancer may just be a thing in the past with only a vaccine to cure it and can be done in a quiet afternoon with the rest of your jam-packed day lined up with physically exhausting activities.


Not only that, but prodding to the potentials of human genome editing can lead to the eradication of these diseases entirely. I mean doctors can simply extract the infected gene, edit it, and make sure that it doesn’t appear again in our offspring. A healthy legacy and a world without sickness sound like a utopia instead, doesn’t it?

Another more far-fetched reason to pursue this thing is to bridge the gap in human evolution. What if the only way to preserve our species is to force evolution? I mean it’s seems like a hardly viable hypothesis, but the universe is millions of years old. Perhaps, the only way to perceive the maximum potential of interaction between humans and space is to survive longer, become more adaptable, and generally just live beyond the years where we expect to be eradicated by the sun when it explodes. Yes, this is a bit far off, but what if?


Anyway, gene editing is generally frowned upon by Western countries mainly because of the preceding qualms. However, China, with its ethical and human rights records, has been exploring this branch of science more aggressively. There may be mutant Chinese people soon, so we better watch out. In any case, genetic enhancement – yay or nay? What do you think? I’ll leave you with this nice piece from Kurzgesagt on genetic engineering – it’s pretty neat…