Human embryo at the 16 cell stage - Dr Yorgos Nikas, Science Photo Library

CRISPR: for good or ill?

: Human embryo at the 16 cell stage - Dr Yorgos Nikas, Science Photo Library

Here’s a story to twist your mind in many different directions 🙂 🙁

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/may/10/crispr-genome-editing-dna-upgrade-technology-genetic-disease

4 thoughts on “CRISPR: for good or ill?

  1. Michael WhiteMichael White Post author

    If nothing else this should be thought provoking. Several far-reaching issues spring to mind.

    The article is notably brief, as no doubt is the Westminster government’s understanding, concerning mitochondrial dna (mtdna). They twist this science by saying “hey, we’re not messing about with real dna ~ not the stuff inside the cells, OK?” But as any biology undergraduate knows: mtdna is the back-up pattern for when things go wrong during dna cutting, splicing, deletion or replication. The default embryonic sex is female in humans ~ without females there is no future generation. Males on the other hand can fertilise many females, thus become less important. Mtdna is only the mother’s dna; nuclear dna is the combined dna from both parents.

    We know that governments cannot be trusted, and in their largesse we have also seen the manipulation of scientists funded by tax-payers. Two recent examples are that smoking is good for you, and that fossil fuels are the way to save our … economy!

    The benefits of genetic engineering are that certain shortcomings can be eliminated, but at what cost? We see what Montsanto has done to plants, and we can imagine what will happen with other biotech companies once they get their hands on human genomes ~ we’ve heard about ‘designer babies’ & also about eugenics.

    The UN did link the human genome to Human Rights, but in David Cameron’s England they are keen to scrap the EU Human Rights Act … so political needs or abuses of power can quickly subvert any ‘Rights’.

    There is no real authority to decide globally on these matters. Is it just the rich, at the expense of the poor; or some race compared with another? Who decides? Who might enforce? What would be the penalties?

    Thinking deeper we see that plant biologists in biotech firms & universities have been able to prevent plants from reproducing. I’m thinking here of a plant that grows, flowers and fruits ~ you replant the seeds, which grow OK … but this second generation does not bear any fruit. In other words the natural chain has been broken. Instead of biodiversity, natural selection, we just have a conveyor belt churning out pre-designed, pre-selected, profit-determined goods.

    I can see difficult legal concerns too: at what point will a ‘manufactured human’ cease to be a person, and merely a thing?

    1. Krishnan SrinivasanKrishnan Srinivasan

      Thanks Mike. I too mirror your views. Natural selection is slow cooking to perfection. Genetic manipulation is fast food making. We know the good and bad. What is good for the tongue may not be for health.

  2. Venkatasamy Rama KrishnaVenkatasamy Rama Krishna

    Great article Mike, and your analysis is brilliant. The way you see it is the way I see it too, and I even see a plan to in some way take over he brains and will of people and turn them into robots or puppets. Is this science fiction in the making? I may have watched too many of these films.
    But I have a feeling that the greater majority of the populace are far to grossly engaged in their own pursuits, and too busy with the many interesting gadgets that have been provided by technology that they can hardly think for themselves anymore, or analyse what is delivered to them in nice political or corporate packages. There is too much acceptance of what is being delivered to them, and too much belief in that politicians and their corporate partners can only be right.

  3. Michael WhiteMichael White Post author

    Thank you Ven & Krishnan. I had also wondered about the ‘control’ of people’s minds. I did notice an article last week, but didn’t post it, about how the brains of folk using smart phones has changed ~ the headline photo showed some type of MRI scan or similar, so I presume it’s data qualified. So maybe it’s no longer science fiction, but techno-reality.

    We have seen a dumbing down of society over recent years, and presumably this is now worsening. If it’s a ‘master plan’ then that is worrisome. I think Ven is correct too, that so many folk are so preoccupied with their phones and tablets that they often don’t even talk to each other. I saw a photo recently of a young couple having a romantic dinner in a fine restaurant: both had 2 phones on the table.

    I’ll just leave my phone turned off and continue thinking, Mike 🙂

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