Recently a baby girl was born in London who carried the title of being "cancer-free". http://edition.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/01/09/uk.cancerfree.baby/index.html This child, in her embryonic form, was screened for the disease, making sure that the gene connected with certain forms of cancer(ovarian and breast) was non existent in her code. This raises a number of issues.
On the bright side, this could be the first step in securing our health for future generations. If we are able to isolate malicious genes, and eliminate the chance of having them before we're born, humans are putting themselves at a "natural" advantage in reproductive cycles. This could be a truly wonderful thing. Imagine if everyone were screened for the risk of cancer, Alzheimers, and other harmful diseases-we could systematically eradicate hundreds of thousands of early deaths-thanks to science.
However, from an evolutionary standpoint, there is a problem here. Darwin's natural selection theory has given us a method to describe how we have "effectively mutated" over the millenia. The strong survive, and the weak die, and thus, strong healthy genes are carried on, and the others are not. If we were to screen those weak genes, and allow everyone to have these strong reproductive genes, we would in a sense be fastforwarding through countless generations of genes that would have had to battle to survive. What if we miss an important adaptation along the way, that could only have been developed through true natural selection?
It makes me feel as though humans have caught up with God, and now we are beginning to create by ourselves. I have to ask, is it a good thing if we allow everyone to be healthy? The obvious answer is yes, but what about the world population? If disease weren't a natural control on our numbers, what would we do? If everyone is screened to be healthy, then we'd have to implement a control on how many children were allowed to be born. The world is over-populated as is...
Side note: If we can siffen out cancer, how long until we are able to choose what our babies look like, how smart they are, etc...Will two stupid people with a lot of money be able to genetically alter their child into a superhuman?
Scientists claim that the procedure is too expensive now for regular people to do it, but who knows what could happen in the future? Also, they say that in order for a couple to have this screening, the fertilization of the egg must occur in a lab.
Real sex vs. superhuman child, you decide.
5 years ago