A Bioethical Analysis of Gene Editing

Authors

  • Caitlin Marie Reintjes McMaster University
  • Isabel Dewey

Keywords:

bioethics, gene editing, genomics, CCR5, MHC, evolution

Abstract

New developments in gene editing methods include the possibility to alter embryos for disease resistance. This could allow for increased immunity in the future, but at what cost? Gene editing may have unintended consequences. Some alterations may prevent the development of one disease but increase susceptibility to another. Other genes persist in populations for complex evolutionary reasons. Scientists must therefore consider the consequences and bioethics associated with these genetic changes. With examples such as the CCR5 coreceptor and major histocompatibility complex, it becomes clear that this type of genetic enhancement is immoral when evaluating it from biological, evolutionary, social, and economic perspectives. First, having the ability to select for certain desirable genes limits genetic diversity, which creates a barrier for evolution. Selecting for certain genes perpetuates the concept of ideal genes resembling dangerous eugenic ideologies. Should these procedures become more prevalent, the issue of accessibility arises. If these expensive procedures are only available to those who can afford them, the opportunity gap between the poor and the rich will widen. An investigation of case studies and ethical implications demonstrates that genomic editing is immoral and impermissible.

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Published

2020-03-31

How to Cite

Reintjes, C. M., & Dewey, I. (2020). A Bioethical Analysis of Gene Editing. Sciential - McMaster Undergraduate Science Journal, (4), 36-37. Retrieved from https://journals.mcmaster.ca/sciential/article/view/2423

Issue

Section

Opinion Piece