Weird Science – From ancient worms to future babies
Bottom Line: Late last week the closest thing to a real Jurassic Park yet – happened. In Siberia, Russian scientists revived worms that had been frozen in permafrost for an estimated 42,000 years. Really! The worms were thawed over the course of several weeks in petri dishes and they eventually came back to life and started eating. It's the first time this has ever been documented for any living creature. While scientists are contemplating the implications of what they've learned and can do there's another conversation about sciences ethical role in life. Gene editing.
We're on the verge of gene editing – scientific alterations to genes leading to specifically desired outcomes at birth becoming a real possibility in our world. Science has already proven the technology exists. While I worry about the implications in rogue nations we do have new research out of ours.
The Pew Research Center studied gene editing and here's what we think...
We (generally) oppose it by 58%-18%
I'm mildly heartened by that take but I'm a bit uncomfortable that only 58% are opposed to the idea. Here are the top three concerns we have with human gene editing...
#1 Increased inequality
#2 Will be used in morally unacceptable ways
#3 Unintended consequences
Among the 18% that support it – here's the rational...
#1 It'll lead to new medical advances
#2 People will live longer/better lives
As for my concerns... Anytime we're "playing God" - I'm uncomfortable. Moreover, isn't this exactly what Hitler was attempting to achieve? In case you're a little murky on what could go wrong here. I'm far more comfortable with the Jurassic worms than genetically altered babies.