Or at least wipe out several diseases
Yesterday, an anxiously awaited government report gave a conditional thumbs-up to embryonic gene editing in disease research.
In case you haven’t heard, scientists now have the ability to change or “edit” a person’s genetic makeup.
While this gene-editing technology is very new, it’s already clear that mankind will soon be able to eradicate a lot of diseases, or even enhance a person’s physical and biological characteristics, by moving or improving components of his DNA.
Until now, U.S. regulators had outlawed any form of gene editing that could be passed on to future generations. The thinking behind the ban: Genes are so complicated that we can’t predict how even small and seemingly beneficial tweaks could mess with us as a species.
For example, some experts fear that editing genes to cure some diseases could wipe out other traits that produce genius-level thinkers like Stephen Hawking.
This new government report says embryo-level editing should be allowed only in very specific circumstances, like treating or preventing certain disabilities or diseases.
It also calls for a lot of ethical oversight. But some experts worry this position shift will open the door to more aggressive gene editing.
For example, if we develop the ability to remove an unborn baby’s inherited risk for Alzheimer’s, why not give that baby blue eyes and above-average height? Or left-handedness?
The future possibilities are very promising, but for now, you’re still stuck with your genes.
That means you’ll have to fend off disease the old-fashioned way, like doing these 10 things to prevent heart disease and lower your risk for every type of cancer.
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