On November 25, 2015 Dr. He Jiankui announced via Youtube that he had decided to push humankind across a controversial threshold. He announced that his work was responsible for twins that had been born that we’re both subject to genetic engineering using CRISPR. This was a threshold widely considered to be off limits. In 2015 two of the four most journals in research, Science and Nature stating the modifications of human germ cells that is sperm and egg cells should be avoided. The scientific community seemed to have come to agreement not to experiment with this technology. But doctor He Jiankui has unceremoniously dragged us over this line. Whether we like it or not, now more than ever there is a urgent need to stop and ask what the outcomes of this work are for the individuals that are subject to it and how society may be affected. CRISPR is a DNA slicing technology that can be used to alter our genes and intern the way we develop. Over the last 5 years we have learned to leverage the ability to direct CRISPR CAS9 with guide RNA’s of our design.
At this point in time I do not believe it is rational to use CRISPR or other genetic modifying techniques. This is especially the case when we are talking about humans. Let’s say a sperm cell is taken into a lab and examined and after examination we can determine that a DNA strand is cancerous or deformed. The doctors decide to modify that gene using CRISPR. The baby is conceived and that baby comes out the womb deformed and mentally incapable of basic functions. Let’s imagine you could do this to a already living being. And again the same thing occurs causing serious pain and subsequently death. We do not have the knowledge to yet employ CRISPR as method to modify genes or remove diseases from genes. The united states government should propose legislature to prohibit the use of CRISPR on human genomes that will become human beings. Many other countries would hopefully follow suit and the use of CRISPR technologies on humans or animals restricted until a full understanding of CRISPR is acknowledged. Imagine the problems you could face if a irresponsible scientist gives birth to a deformed baby that will suffer for the rest of its life. And only because he wanted to have the next big headline written about him.