Deakin Communicating Science 2016

EES 200/101

Genetically modified children

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Is it possible for us to choose our children’s genes? Change their hair colour? Skin colour? Couples can now walk in a lab in order to choose how tall they want their kids to be or whether they want them to have straight or curly hair. Genetic modification is currently allowing people to choose the genetic make up of their children depending on what they prefer.

“The first genetically modified human was born on the 28th of May 2013″. Both parents walked in a lab and were given 13 embryos to choose from. It looks like humans can do something that was once known as impossible. The 1997 science fiction film ‘Gattaca’ has predicted the day we will genetically modify our children and we will live in a world where only people that are genetically modified accepted as humans and that is the reality. Genetic modification will lead to a time where people must have a certain characteristics in order to be accepted in the society.

People are trying to create these ‘perfect’ humans that are disease free and healthy without doing the required research in order to know the consequences and what it can lead to. Some people might argue that almost all humans will be the same which will bring equality and take away problems such as bullying and will boost self-confidence, however they forget that what is making us improve the human lifestyle and making it easier is that every human is unique and most importantly competition. Competition has made lifestyle much easier because everyone wants to be unique and achieve something in their lifespan that will change the world. Everything is developing because of that and people must come to realization before it’s too late and no one can determine what perfect genes are.

The process of transferring mitochondria to have a better and healthier children is an option for some women that have damaged mitochondria. According to the National center for biotechnology information this process has health risks on children. ‘’Inherited diseases caused by mitochondrial gene (mtDNA) mutations affect at least 1 in 5,000–10,000 children and are associated with severe clinical symptoms’’. No one would like to take the risk and have a child that can possibly have a higher rate of having diseases and not being healthy.

There are many alternatives to this. Couples that are not able to reproduce can go and adopt an orphan child which will be better than experimenting. Doing a good deed by adopting an orphan child will make his/her wishes come true. And for genetically modifying the kids, I would personally rather see a child that has characteristics from his/her parents rather than a child that looks completely different just to satisfy the parents.

 

References:

 

CNBC. (2014). VOTE: Are we ready for genetically modified babies?. [online] Available at: http://www.cnbc.com/2014/08/11/should-we-open-the-door-to-genetically-modified-babiescommentary.html [Accessed 21 Apr. 2016].

NaturalNews. (2016). Genetically modified babies? – New science lets parents select child’s genetic sequence, rearrange DNA. [online] Available at: http://www.naturalnews.com/041493_genetic_modification_babies_gene_sequence.html [Accessed 21 Apr. 2016].

Mitalipov, S. and Wolf, D. (2014). Clinical and ethical implications of mitochondrial gene transfer. Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism, 25(1), pp.5-7.

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6 comments on “Genetically modified children

  1. rrupra
    May 2, 2016

    Hi there,

    After reading your article it has compelled me to provide my view on this issue.
    I myself believe that nature should take its course, and parents shouldn’t be given the opportunity to genetically modify their children’s genetic traits, such as hair, skin, and eye colour and so forth.
    However, in the point you made in which you stated that “people are trying to create the ‘perfect’ humans that are disease free and healthy”, it sounds like you’re saying that we shouldn’t be able to modify genes in order to reduce the probability of disease and illness in our children. Shouldn’t this be a good thing? I feel as though we should be able to genetically modify our children so that they are able to live a happy and healthy life free of disease.
    Without knowing the consequences I cannot assume that genetic modification is something that should be looked down upon in society, maybe you could elaborate and expand on this idea some more.
    Otherwise, the points you have made throughout the article are intriguing to readers, and it makes the read more enjoyable. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nez
      May 7, 2016

      Hi,
      Thank you for your interesting comment, I completely agree with you. However we can’t limit people to modifying genes in order to reduce probability of diseases. People will always use this in their favor and the way they like it. which goes into changing hair colour etc. The consequences will out weigh the good things we can do with modifying genes. I will make sure I explain it further

      Like

  2. Adam
    May 4, 2016

    Nice topic choice, and very important for the coming decade I think.

    I think it is worth taking note of rrupra’s comment.

    I would also love to see some links to the things you cover in this article. There is so much crammed in it would really help readers to be able to go and explore pertinent information.

    Finally, try to have a friend or family member read the blog for grammar, spelling and clarity. There are a few sentences and paragraphs that could be improved with tweaking.

    Cheers,
    Adam

    Like

  3. jcollinsweb
    May 7, 2016

    Hi! Great article you have here. I agree with your opinion that people shouldn’t be able to genetically modify their children; the idea seems preposterous to me. I agree that if people are allowed to do this then the population could see some serious issues. If we look at China with their One-Child policy, they are now facing a crisis in which they have significantly more males then females and hence many males are unable to find a partner. If this is what happens when people are only allowed to have one child I can’t even begin to imagine what would happen if people were allowed to modify their children before their birth.
    References: http://www.allgirlsallowed.org/gender-imbalance-china-statistics
    http://www.britannica.com/topic/one-child-policy

    Like

  4. ellakim1993
    May 7, 2016

    Hi Nez,
    I found your blog post to be interesting and made me have mixed feelings about this topic. I have given a thought of genetically modifying my kids in the future but I didn’t like the idea of changing the physical appearance of my kids as its just an un-natural thing to do. I would prefer my kids to take after my husband and my physical characteristics. So in this perspective, parents should not be given the choice in this matter. However, if this genetic modification applied to help create disease free and healthy babies’ then that changes the story. Lets say, this high-tech detected my child to have some sort of birth defect or to have medical complications in the future (hopefully not) then without hesitating I would go for it. Although I enjoyed your topic it would’ve made the experience a lot better if you have included references so that I could give a read as to what you read.

    Other than that, I enjoyed your blog!

    Here is a link I have found to be relevant to your topic,
    http://fortune.com/2015/12/02/genetically-modified-babies/

    Like

  5. jteee1
    May 8, 2016

    Hi there,
    Interesting read, the fact that a genetically modified human has now been achieved is astounding. I am unsure whether genetic modification has been used for experimental procedure or whether parents can actually walk into a lab nowadays and choose characteristics such as height for their potential offspring. I think that this luxury of choosing preferred characteristics can potentially involve many ethical challenges. Great interpretation of the importance of having a unique society. I agree that all individuals should aspire to be unique and look to achieve something within their lifespan that will change the world in some way or another.

    Like

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This entry was posted on April 28, 2016 by in Burwood - Thursday 2pm, Uncategorized.

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