Designer babies: A revolution or playing God?


Designer babies: A revolution or playing God?

What if you could 'order' the birth of a newborn girl who would grow up to be as intellectual as Marie Curie and gorgeous as Venus? Or the appearance of a baby boy who might grow up to be as clever as Einstein as attractive as Adonis? How would you customize the skin tone, color of hair, and eyes? Advancements in science imply the concept of designer babies is neither outrageous and nor utopian. It would be technically feasible to develop your own peculiar creations in near future. Humanity should be concerned about the ethics of the thorny issue. Is genetic engineering morally permissible, or even desirable?

Consider it a very personal type of experiment. Innovations that are already currently available may certainly make this experimentation feasible for anyone willing to pay the cost of creating a new human, albeit one that is intended to be "better." I'm referring to a designer baby. You would actually be designing and introducing a new type of baby using the same technique that is used to create a genetically modified tomato, mouse, or monkey. The baby would be a phrase in an edgier means, a eugenic human. Designing a baby is just like the same way as you might buy a customized pizza with specific toppings i.e., goat cheese, green olives, no onions, you may design your future GMO Sapien baby with a handful of desired traits like blue eyes, certain blood group and resistant to inheritable diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs and polycystic kidney, etc.

 The philosophy of eugenics dates back to Aristotle. According to the fourth century BCE philosopher, "men should tie their left testicles prior to intercourse if they want a male child." Michael J. Sandel explored the pros and cons of genetic engineering in his book 'The case against perfection: ethics in the age of genetic engineering (2007). Playing God through genetically modifying human creation is now achievable thanks to the marriage of two powerful technologies. The first is nowadays an ancient technique, in vitro fertilization (IVF), which was established four decades ago by Nobel Laureate Robert Edwards and his colleague Patrick Steptoe. The second is CRISPR-Cas9, a cutting-edge genetic engineering tool that makes it surprisingly simple to directly manipulate an early embryo. When conjugation with IVF, the modern genetic techniques enable scientists to alter the DNA, which serves as the blueprint for a human germline, even when it consists of only a single or few cells.

People have begun to consider utilizing CRISPR/Cas9 technology to alter human genes in order to prevent various impairments and diseases from passing down to future generations. This has given rise to the concept of designer babies, with hand-picked genes in babies. That seems admirable if a designer baby who is innately resistant to a variety of particularly nasty parasites or bacteria, such as those that cause malaria, or who is incapable of being infected by certain viruses, such as HIV, Ebola, and hepatitis. It would be ironic if GMO sapiens were made resistant to viral infection using CRISPR technology, given that bacteria also employ CRISPR to resist viral attack.

Progress of designer babies is still in the developmental phase, the Hollywood film Gattaca, a fictional movie directed by Andrew Niccol fashioned a society where eugenic babies are a reality. The film highlights the potential problems.  It is critical for society to evaluate many scenarios for what a future of designer babies. Scientists’ knowledge not only in the technological view but also in their understandings of different societal contexts, their cautionary advice must be taken into account. Though this may appear enticing, the ethical, social, and socioeconomic aspects should be examined before the technology progresses. As the future of designer babies becomes a reality, society should make an effort to think through the various scenarios before furthering the development.