Designer Humans

Scientists in China have been recruiting couples in an effort to create the first gene-edited babies according to this report in MIT Technology Review titled “EXCLUSIVE: Chinese scientists are creating CRISPR babies.”

I suppose it was inevitable. Nonetheless, it’s scary as hell. Where will it lead? Where will it end? Or is the concept of end obsolete? Or closer than ever?

Every technological advance carries with it both beneficial and harmful consequences. Or so it seems to me. It’s easy to posit the beneficial aspects of gene-editing. But the potential harmful effects aren’t so easy to imagine. Yet there are real. And potentially very scary.

I wonder what it will be like for parents when you’re at a child-bearing age, Vera. I suspect your experience will be very different from that of your mother and grandmothers. You may have choices that were beyond our imaginations.

In the meantime, humans must find a way to deal with the ethical issues posed by these new technological capabilities. Indeed, humans might need to find a way to preserve the species generally.

We are entering a new age. And there is much beyond the reach of our headlights.