This is a submission from our Leaders 4SC Middle School Camp.

How can you change somebody before they are even born? The answer is simple; genome editing. Genome editing can remove or alter genes that a person has inherited. It can change one’s hair color, remove genetic diseases, and do much more. Only the rich can experience this, though because according to a site called Independent, it costs about one million dollars. Is this technology a good thing or is it just not worth it? Despite the fact that some parents want to change their children before they are born, I believe that it is wrong to change anyone without their approval, especially with gene editing. Anything can go wrong or regrets could arise later in life. When parents decide to go through with gene editing, they decide to change their child. Any gene changed, even if minor, could affect a person’s entire DNA.

This has happened with Jiankui He. His experiment on twin girls gave them mutations, according to a government site called PLOS Biology. This technology is still new and unstable. Gene editing is a powerful technology that doesn’t just alter genes, it can change people. Gene editing can avoid people from suffering terrible genetic diseases. This type of technology can remove the gene that contains the disease, though. Some people believe this to be a good thing. I agree that it can be a good thing, but what if something goes wrong with this procedure? Gene editing doesn’t always go according to plan. It is still very new and something can always go wrong. For example, the wrong gene could be changed by accident. It has happened before. Fortunately, this mistake was not made in a human. The impact of that mistake can’t really be known until the child is born. The technology of genome editing is a powerful advantage and disadvantage. Gene editing can be harmful or helpful. It is such a new device though, so there is always room for improvement and surprise.



Collateral damage: benchmarking off-target effects in genome editing (Genome Biology)

What is genome editing? (National Human Genome Research Institute)

Genome Editing (ScienceDirect)

Perspectives on gene editing (The Harvard Gazette)

Written by Leaders 4SC 2020 Student, Leora S.