The Genetic Engineering Of Human Embryos

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The genetic engineering of human embryos is unethical, and is harmful to the biological and social constructs of the human race. An embryo that has been genetically modified, more commonly known as a “designer baby”, is a baby whose genetic makeup has been altered to make sure a certain gene is either present or absent. This is done by editing the DNA in the genes of the embryo in its earliest development stages. The egg is fertilized by the sperm outside of the womb, and is then implanted into the womb to continue development. Recently, a process called CRISPR-CAS9 which uses endonucleases or enzymes that cut DNA at specific locations has been developed. Rather than relying on bacteria to generate CRISPR RNAs, scientists first design and synthesize short RNA molecules that match a specific DNA sequence—for example, in a human cell. Then, like in the targeting step of the bacterial system, this ‘guide RNA’ shuttles molecular machinery to the intended DNA target. Once localized to the DNA region of interest, the molecular machinery can silence a gene or even change the sequence of a gene! This type of gene editing can be likened to editing a sentence with a word processor to delete words or correct spelling mistakes. [1] The CRISPR-associated protein Cas9 is an endonuclease that uses a guide sequence within an RNA duplex, tracrRNA:crRNA, to form base pairs with DNA target sequences, enabling Cas9 to introduce a site-specific double-strand break in the DNA. The dual tracrRNA:crRNA was engineered as a single guide RNA (sgRNA) that retains two critical features: a sequence at the 5′ side that determines the DNA target site by Watson-Crick base-pairing and a duplex RNA structure at the 3′ side that binds to Cas9. This finding created a... ... middle of paper ... ...s who would have otherwise inherited traits for genetic illnesses, that particular illness could be stopped. It would also allow parents to have healthy children related to the both of them. Although a social divide is very possible and a great risk, the future cannot be predicted and it is not certain that inequality and social problems will occur. However, since genetic modification is not available today nor will be in the very near future, it is not possible to know all of the possible effects of it. To even make designer babies possible, scientists still need to find ways that will ensure the genetically modified embryos do even so much as survive after the modification. Even if it were possible, there are many unavoidable side effects we have not yet encountered. For this reason, genetic modification is not something we should strive towards as a society today.
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