Bachelor of Arts
Biological and Physical Sciences
Program or Major
Many deleterious genes give rise to disease. In fact, a mutation of a single gene can cause over 10,000 human disorders, including, but not limited to, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, muscular dystrophy, red-green color blindness, and Huntington disease. Such mutations, however, can now be precisely revised, removed, or replaced using gene-editing technologies. Most recently, CRISPR-Cas9 has been used to accurately repair disease-causing mutations and thus prevent the inheritance of genetic diseases. Many conditions, however, are nonlife-threatening and do not affect an individual’s quality of life. Should they be eradicated, too? What about treatable diseases? In addition to modifying existing genes, scientists can insert novel ones. Should scientists be able to introduce enhanced genes (i.e., select for favorable traits) such as a specific eye color, athleticism, intelligence, etc.? Where is the line drawn? Life-changing scientific discoveries are being made every day but, as with many new discoveries, comes the risk of harmful use. With each scientific breakthrough, scientists and nonscientists should come together to discuss the current state of research, expected future developments and their possible ramifications on society.
Mullen, Brooke, "The (Ab)uses of CRISPR-Mediated Human Genome Editing" (2020). Honors Theses. 73.