Nightmare Muffin

Chinese babies had gene editing done- ethics?

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source: https://bgr.com/2018/11/29/genetic-editing-babies-chinese-he-jiankui/

source: https://bgr.com/2018/11/27/gene-editing-babies-china-he-jiankui/

source: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/chinese-scientists-created-gene-edited-babies-may-now-174554581.html

 

I recently discovered that some Chinese scientist had announced and done highly controversial gene editing on human babies  to make them resistant to some strain of disease, and has since had their funding cut off, been suspended, and gone into hiding after much backlash. Personally, I find this appalling (along with many other things that science is tampering with in humans) . What do you guys think?

Edited by Nightmare Muffin

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Im probably not in the majority here, but I can't say I'm opposed to the idea of gene modification in itself. I think that's a pretty unscientific stance and it cuts us off from a whole slew of potential benefits the field might bring. I doubt his motivations were entirely selfless and it is certainly a very controversial thing to do, but I wouldn't jump on the bandwagon of condemning him. I'm more neutral about it than anything. 

You also have to admit, modifying an embryo's genes for HIV resistance is pretty clean compared to certain events in recent history. There's been far worse, both overseas and at home. 

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The concept of beneficial gene modifications, to me, is not ipso facto bad, but I would heavily prefer it to be with consent.

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The scientists involved should be banned from ever coming within a mile of any building, research  facility, or school that has so much as one microscope. They should be banned for any kind of scientific work for the rest of their lives.

I'm not trying to be cutesy or funny. I find the idea of custom altering human beings to be truly horrifying.

 

 

Back on an edit. I had to remove the last sentence. I didn't like what I said. It was wrong.

Sorry.

Give them a twenty year prison sentence is they do it again!

Edited by cuteycindyhoney

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As has been said, I'm all for editing genes to make someone resistant to disease, but would prefer it be done with consent. Then again, we circumcise babies and think nothing of it. 

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The horror of this is similar in my eyes to the horror of vaccines or mechanical limbs or a billion other advances. Now, do I trust the nation it came from? Nope, they don't exactly have a stellar human rights reccord. But on the flip side if we could wipe out hiv and various other diseases with it the boons could outweigh any silly fears of it being " wrong " in fact since we are on the topic I would love to hear someone defend it being wrong to tamper with genetics. I mean really children can't give consent that is up to the parents so short of failed parental consent there is no argument there. 

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I'm all for beneficial gene modification. Those "ethical issues" and "controversies" are artificial and based on superstitions. If it helps us to get rid of diseases and decrease infant mortality rates, it should be done whenever possible. And yeah, why is this wrong and the appalling practice of infant genital mutilation without consent or medical reasoning is OK?

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26 minutes ago, Oleks said:

And yeah, why is this wrong and the appalling practice of infant genital mutilation without consent or medical reasoning is OK?

 

Children cannot give consent. Parents give the consent. They can no more consent to circumcision then a surgery or ear piercing 

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This might sound a bit cruel but if the only way to advance as a species, particularly as far as disease resistence goes, it may be required to break the rules like this. A lot of advances in medical science were made from unethical experiments in the first place.

 

We live in a society where it's not super necessary since most first world countries are relatively safe but given more extreme circumstances this sort of thing may become a necessity.

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36 minutes ago, Jedishy said:

Children cannot give consent. Parents give the consent. They can no more consent to circumcision then a surgery or ear piercing

Circumcision without medical reasons, even with the consent from parents, is just genital mutilation. IMO, unlike surgery it should only be done when the person being circumcised gives consent themselves. Same with ear piercing, by the way. I don't see why it is acceptable to pierce someone's ears ony because their parents say it's OK.

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9 minutes ago, Oleks said:

Circumcision without medical reasons, even with the consent from parents, is just genital mutilation. IMO, unlike surgery it should only be done when the person being circumcised gives consent themselves. Same with ear piercing, by the way. I don't see why it is acceptable to pierce someone's ears ony because their parents say it's OK.

While I can understand the feeling its a difficult subject. Because either a parent can give consent on behalf of their child for medical or cosmetic work or they cannot. To say they cant with some exceptions leaves it open to state interference. To say no to cosmetic issues leaves potentially things like a cleft lip that is not causing issues at the moment potentially untreated as if its not causing issues its cosmetic to repair. Simply put the law is tricky and state legislatures screw things up all the time and thus  I'd rather trust the parents 99 times out of 100 

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I can't say that I care. Gene modifications are done on countless organisms, humans are simply another step. Hell, if it can lead to positive advancements, I don't see the issue. Doesn't matter to me in the slightest.

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Currently, gene-editing an embryo with CRISPR-Cas9 is very risky and ends up harming more than helping. The problem with gene-editing is that it doesn’t always go the way it’s expected to – to put it simply, sometimes gene-editing an embryo ends up mutating it. Also, gene-editing an embryo to be immune to a certain disease could increase the risk of other diseases for that embryo, all which could lead to unwanted gene problems with the embryo’s future generations. So yeah, it’s too risky. Gene-editing could be a good thing in the future, but in the present it isn’t.

That’s basically the problem with the Chinese scientist – he knowingly proceeded with gene-editing two viable embryos with CRISPR-Cas9 to resist hiv, but in doing so he increased those embryos’ risk of getting other diseases and could have messed up their genes without him knowing. It is fine for scientists to do that with nonviable embryos, but not with viable ones.

No one here should be fine with gene-editing viable embryos in the present. I'm not saying it's morally wrong, that isn't even the issue right now - the problem is that it is too harmful and risky.

Edited by EpicEnergy
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I think it's flippin' awesome.... in theory, but what worries me is preemptive gene editing, y'know, before we have it all worked out.  I'd worry about people trying this too soon and having unexpected consequences or complications.  But if we get this right, I think it's great.  Why wouldn't you want your child to be more disease resistant?  Eventually, if this technology is perfected, we may well approach a time when parents are considered moral monsters if they don't get their baby's genes edited.  For instance, imagine that we could edit genes to make people 100% immune to...let's say cancer.  So, we have a cancer-free society, but then one couple says they want a "natural" child, and then that child dies at some young age from brain cancer.  There may come a time when this would, and should, be viewed as an irresponsible, unethical decision by those parents, and they would be rightly ostracized for it.  Eventually, gene editing will be like getting your children vaccinated.  And, of course, just like that, there will probably always be irrational controversy.  Personally, I can't wait for Gattaca, and I think it can't get here soon enough.

I understand the arguments that children cannot consent to this, but they also cannot consent to not having it, and being left more vulnerable to diseases, or whatever it may be.  Children also cannot consent to getting vaccinated, but we do that anyways (as well we should).  Adults have to make a call.  If this wipes out diseases, then we should pursue it.  It's also worth noting that children cannot consent to being born at all.  If we attempt to edit genes, everyone goes ape sh*t, but if a couple with extremely poor genes has children and passes on a high risk of, say, obesity, diabetes, or cancer or something, nobody seems to care, because it's "natural".  Maybe that child wouldn't have consented if they could have known what genes they were getting.  The fact is, it's unethical to create conscious life to begin with.  The life isn't yours to create.  But people aren't going to stop reproducing, so whatever we can do to improve a child's chances and their quality of life is a good thing.  But again, I'll circle this back to the start and say that editing before we have this tech worked out is a whole other story, and could be very problematic.  This is something that demands a lot of time.

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Eh, in this particular case I'm against it. Mostly since it's unclear if the parents were informed of what exactly could go wrong.

7 hours ago, Justin_Case001 said:

Children also cannot consent to getting vaccinated, but we do that anyways (as well we should). 

I feel like we can't really compare this to vaccination. After all, if a vaccination would cause someone some kind of problem, that problem would be limited to that person. But if we make a mistake with gene manipulation that causes some kind of problem, that problem can be inherited by that person's children and then their children etc. 

14 hours ago, Discordian said:

A lot of advances in medical science were made from unethical experiments in the first place.

 

I've always found it a bit funny how many uses arguments like this, yet so few volunteers to partake in unethical experiments. 

Edited by Black Sabbath
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Finally some progress. Humans need to move forward as a race 

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1 hour ago, Black Sabbath said:

Eh, in this particular case I'm against it. Mostly since it's unclear if the parents were informed of what exactly could go wrong.

I feel like we can't really compare this to vaccination. After all, if a vaccination would cause someone some kind of problem, that problem would be limited to that person. But if we make a mistake with gene manipulation that causes some kind of problem, that problem can be inherited by that person's children and then their children etc. 

I've always found it a bit funny how many uses arguments like this, yet so few volunteers to partake in unethical experiments. 

You're not wrong. It's easy to tell others they should put their lives, or their childrens lives in this case, on the line for such a thing but another thing to do it yourself. That's part of why they're done without consent because few willingly would potentially cripple themselves or worse for the sake of scientific advancement.

 

Personally, I'm just playing devil's advocate. I don't actually care about society enough to even consider it.

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