Ah, that old paradox, which came first– the super chicken, or the CRISPR egg? Well in this case the answer should be pretty obvious– the egg.
All paradoxes aside, this is actually a really divided topic, where both sides have an equal say in the matter. Some are questioning whether science is starting to push the boundaries a little too far by choosing technical progress over ethical principles, almost eugenic in nature. Some, however, see these techniques as tools for creating a world free of disease and deformities, where every child is born with near perfect genetics and would be, for all purposes, “super human.”
Okay, that term may not fly with the yay sayers too well, the technology is still a ways away before we start having “Justice League daycare” and “The Avengers summer camp.” Although both those things probably already exist, the point is that the science and techniques used in CRISPR will eventually enable people to start having children with genes much more suited for the harsh world than those who have children, well, the old way.
National Geographic released an article covering the latest developments on the CRISPR-Cas9 technology– where researchers successfully removed specific genes associated with a genetic defect from 42 human embryos. The scientists focused these “genetic-scissors” on the mutations that had a high risk of causing hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a disease that affects about 1 in 500 and can lead to sudden cardiac arrest.
So imagine a life where there is no disease, no illness, no ones born deformed or is even really out of shape for that matter. People live for hundreds if not thousands of years because of the gene manipulation technology that has become the cultural norm after generation and generation of scientific growth and understanding. Sounds kind of nice, right? Especially the permanent six-pack part.
Okay now imagine the period of time in between getting to that point of living in an utopia, so pretty much now up to the point where gene therapy becomes compulsory such as some vaccines. However, once it becomes legal, that will be diverging point of human evolution, at least that’s what my high school’s graduating power point said when I submitted it. (Never got any feedback on that by the way, just that I passed.) Anyway, the idea is simple economics, some will be able to pay for the therapy, and some will not. That means genetically speaking, there is now a new genetic pool introduced into the population– slowly growing, and slowly out living the rest of the population. In doing so the original genetic pool is wiped out entirely. That’s the idea at least.
So where does this lead down the eugenic rabbit hole?
Of course aliens! What else would it be? Other than anything at all.
Okay so before it starts to make too much sense, the idea goes that after generations of altering genes and manipulating the birthing process, along with the advancement of science and tech, the human form and consciousness will change into something completely alien of its origin. And not to get too deep with the alien hypotheses out there, but this idea sort of gels with the one that E.T.’s are actually infertile time travelers come back to make hybrids in order to continue their genes thus introducing the specific genes that make them so alien in the first place thus completing the time paradox thus, oh wait thats it…. yeah, that whole chestnut.
Whatever you choose to believe, or try to forget, just know that anything is possible and that the society you live in highly dictates what is acceptable and what’s not. Although, it may be time to worry once parents CRISPR their children to look more like anime characters.