As with the scientists who gave us the Bomb, they’ll make it so then wring their hands, as if that makes any difference.
When the news broke last week, suddenly we were there: the future. Scientists had edited human DNA, both breaking a long-standing research taboo and crossing yet another thing off the sci-fi-IRL to-do list. Bring on the references to Gattaca, or to Brave New World, or to Margaret Atwood’s MaddAdam trilogy — basically, fill in your favorite piece of dystopian science fiction that embodies a deep distrust of “artificial” or “engineered” organisms, and you get the picture.
Not that all that fear is fiction; there are real reasons to be very concerned at the headline, “Scientists genetically modify human embryos.” For instance, there is a risk of accidentally introducing new traits into the human gene pool, which could have long-ranging effects we cannot predict, say commenters in Natureand Science. We might try to cure one disease while inadvertently introducing a new one (and nevermind the bioethical concerns of “designer” humans”).
So since the news broke, plenty of scientists…
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