Human beings being artificially altered using their genes???
After having read one of Margaret Atwoods novels, Oryx and Crake, I have come across the the thought of what would a world of nothing but genetically modified beings be like?Rather than being naturally brought up into our world, we would be created in labs and our DNA would be altered.
I have asked myself: what would be the purpose of editing ones DNA? Would it be to perfect them? Would be to make us all immortal beings?
This idea of being able to scientifically modify genes and create beings leads to the thought of immortality. A technological advancement in relation to the alteration of genes would possibly allow beings to be immortal. Although it may lead to one being immortal, doesn’t it seem somewhat immoral to do so? We may all view this modification process differently but I see it as being immoral. I perceive the process as immoral since ones DNA is intentionally interfered with. In Oryx and Crake, Jimmy’s mother says: ” You’re interfering with the building blocks of life. It’s immoral. It’s…sacrilegious” (p. 57). And then Jimmy’s father replies by saying: “It’s just proteins” (p. 57). She believes that doing so is dishonest in some ways. The work that is done in labs is harmful and there are definitely risks to take into consideration.
Although I see some aspects of this modification as being negative I believe that it would allow us to save lives which would lead to a greater world. If DNA modification were to help prevent one from getting any disease that could be life threatening, one would not have to live with the fear of losing their life.
According to the article Genetically Modified Babies found in The New York Times, these modifications would be able to prevent children that are born from developing mitochondrial diseases and women with the disease would be able to give birth to a healthy child. Although it may allow the birth of a healthy child, these procedures are risky and problematic.
Image taken from: http://www.kudrat.co.in/w/the-worlds-first-genetically-modified-babies-born/
The theme of modification and immortality presented in the book made me raise questions considering how far would we go to created beings in a lab or genetically modifying them. We should consider that yes these modifications may be positive but they may also have negative aspects to them.
It may seem as I am contradicting myself as I have said that I think that it is immoral to genetically modify beings and then I go on to say that it may save lives which is a positive aspect. What I mean is that even though it is immoral in some ways since the being is basically scientifically created, if it may lead to a better world without diseases nor death why not follow this practice.
If you had the option to genetically modify your child, do you think that you would rather bring him into this world ‘naturally’ or ‘scientifically’? And do you think that modifications are immoral?
Atwood, Margaret. Oryx and Crake. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2003. Print.
Darnovsky, Marcy. “Genetically Modified Babies”. The New York Times. Feb 23, 2014. Web. Feb 24, 2017.