Crispr human editing moves forward

Discussions that deal with moral issues. Key questions in ethics include: How should one live? What is right (or wrong) to do? What is the best way for humans to live?

Crispr human editing moves forward

Postby SciameriKen on February 16th, 2017, 10:48 am 

http://cen.acs.org/articles/95/i8/Inter ... iting.html

Little by little we can "perfect" the genome
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Re: Crispr human editing moves forward

Postby Braininvat on February 16th, 2017, 12:40 pm 

It's funny, I've never found the line that hard to draw. If it fixes a debilitating condition, then it's just good medicine. If you could spare your child Huntington's disease or Celiac disease or spina bifida or cleft palate or cystic fibrosis, etc. wouldn't you want to make that "edit" ? I think most agree that making "supermen" is neither feasible or ethical. But there's always suffering in life and I don't see any need to add to that suffering by deciding that children having severe genetic diseases is some sort of lofty philosophic goal.

Editing like this is also a path to far more affordable healthcare. Compare the costs of treating a lifelong chronic condition compared with editing the condition out at the start of life. Which seems the more humane and elegant solution to a medical problem?
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Re: Crispr human editing moves forward

Postby SciameriKen on February 16th, 2017, 2:30 pm 

Braininvat » Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:40 pm wrote:It's funny, I've never found the line that hard to draw. If it fixes a debilitating condition, then it's just good medicine. If you could spare your child Huntington's disease or Celiac disease or spina bifida or cleft palate or cystic fibrosis, etc. wouldn't you want to make that "edit" ? I think most agree that making "supermen" is neither feasible or ethical. But there's always suffering in life and I don't see any need to add to that suffering by deciding that children having severe genetic diseases is some sort of lofty philosophic goal.

Editing like this is also a path to far more affordable healthcare. Compare the costs of treating a lifelong chronic condition compared with editing the condition out at the start of life. Which seems the more humane and elegant solution to a medical problem?


I'd say a majority of people are right there with you and this is the viewpoint of the article. But would this make the line then, "Any gene that associates with poor quality of life or diminished lifespan?" So there are about 300+ genes in Gene age that are associated with longevity. Many that are a simple SNP that in some cases confer an extra 5 years of lifespan - would this be ok to fix? or should the line be, ""Any gene that increases standard of living no higher than the average person"?
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Re: Crispr human editing moves forward

Postby Braininvat on February 16th, 2017, 4:13 pm 

"Any gene that associates with poor quality of life or diminished lifespan?" So there are about 300+ genes in Gene age that are associated with longevity. Many that are a simple SNP that in some cases confer an extra 5 years of lifespan - would this be ok to fix?


I think "good medicine" supplies the criteria for any example someone could offer. No medical procedure can guarantee a certain lifespan, but many can alleviate suffering and improve quality of life, so the criteria should be focused on that. Take diabetes - definitely shortens life, definitely causes misery, and I can't think of any positive thing that the 6 (I think that's a figure I've heard) alleles involved would be worth preserving for in the human genome. Unless we think it's great to have people gain a lot of weight before a famine. How many people would step forward and say, "You know, the way I gain weight so easily should definitely be kept a part of our species' genetic legacy, and I would like to volunteer to carry on that great tradition! No gene snips for me!"

And, as the article notes, if the patient really is concerned about not tampering with their "legacy," they can still get the somatic cell only therapy. Also, an option, as noted, when the gene function is not totally clearcut. In a world reverting to malarial jungle, some might want the advantage of heterozygous sickle cell gene for future generations.
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