Germline Genome Editing: Scientists Consider Altering The Genes In Babies Before They’re Born - Top 10 Listverse Car Review UFO Alien
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Germline Genome Editing: Scientists Consider Altering The Genes In Babies Before They’re Born

What was once something coming directly from sci-fi movies depicting the future, is now soon to be a reality — editing the genes in babies before they are born could help them live decades longer and reduce the risk of developing cancer, according to some controversial new research. This process is known as germline genome editing.

These DNA-editing tools, known as CRSIPR-CAS9, could be used to ‘make us more resistant to diseases of old age’ when used on egg and sperm cells, according to Dr. Roman Teo Olyink from the University of Auckland.

By altering just a few or even a hundred of the genes that typically code the conditions for heart disease, Alzheimer’s or arthritis, those unborn babies who would otherwise be at risk because of a family history of such disorders may be able to live longer and have more years being healthy, according to the research.

The greatest benefit of the gene-altering would be in the realm of developing cancer. An at-risk fetus would be half as likely to develop the disease and could live up to two decades longer if cancer was still to develop, the scientists claim.

Other scientists who are skeptical of this procedure feel that by editing a person’s risk of one disease, it could end up making them more susceptible to another. The gene editing also doesn’t account for the fact that poor health is often brought on by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Cancer Risk Could Be Significantly Reduced

Researchers looked at a collection of genes that affect a person’s risk level of developing certain conditions. By looking at which genes an individual has, their risk of developing certain diseases can be assessed. Then, they were able to determine whether or not someone who has a higher than average risk of developing a specific disease would have been less susceptible had they undergone the gene editing procedure before birth.

Dr. Olinyk claims that the results would be dramatic and these people who had undergone this procedure would live healthier for longer and have a significantly lower risk of even becoming ill at all. “This research shows that we could potentially use gene editing to make us all resistant to diseases of old age. Cancers on the model show a very significant and lasting improvement,” he said.

How Much Is Really Genetic?

For something like Alzheimer’s disease where the gene is literally passed on to the next family members, this procedure could be hugely beneficial. But for other diseases that are only genetic if something triggers or awakens the genes to cause disease or illness, shouldn’t we be educating people on the role that environmental factors play in the development of disease?

In a way, this procedure could be taking away an opportunity to empower ourselves and get to the root cause of our illnesses, be they emotional or physical. The environments we live in, the food we eat, and our lifestyles all play a role in the development of disease, even if that disease is one that tends to run in our families.

I have heard before that most diseases that are considered genetic are only developed if we live a similar lifestyle as our parents and follow in their footsteps in regards to our diets. It’s only genetic if we eat like our parents. By just assuming that we will get sick or contract a disease because our parents did and their parents did is giving away our power to heal and stop the genetic cycle of disease from our families.

Other Issues Of Concern

If this technology can indeed be used to alter genes by removing ones that may cause disease or illness, then later down the road it can certainly be used to add genes with certain characteristics as well. Parents could choose what eye and hair color their children will have or how tall they will be. How many parents would strive to build the genetically perfect basketball player?

Is the ability to alter these genes taking things too far? Should we just let nature do it’s thing? Or is this technology becoming available to us now because we are advanced enough to handle it? What are your thoughts? We want to hear from you, comment on this post below and let us know what you think about gene-altering technology.

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About Mysterious Everythings

Le Minh Hieu is a national-level weightlifter and a Singapore Weightlifting sports performance coach. Hieu's biggest passion is helping everyone find confidence, happiness, and health through fitness.