Editorial Board: Genetically modified babies

The FDA began debating the idea of making babies with three genetic parents on Tuesday, Feb. 25. These genetically modified babies “may hold promise for averting certain genetically inherited diseases” reported Scientific American. Not only is the science of it all being considered, but the ethical and societal impact will be weighed as well.

The Editorial Board acknowledges the scientific possibilities this could bring, but the ramifications to our world is an important factor that shouldn’t be lost in this discussion.

It’s hard to speculate on what these impacts would be, which is why society needs to err on the side of caution. One can’t help but think of the movie Gattaca, which presented a society built on genetic engineering as a determinant of what one could do with his or her life. Of course the movie is purely a Hollywood scientific thriller, but it does point to a potential negative societal impact genetically modifying our children could have on humanity.

The full extent of research into the topic so far was a bit unknown to the Board. Regardless, with such an issue society should take its progress on the research very seriously and at a careful pace. In this case, balancing scientific breakthroughs and ensuring ethical/societal standards are being met is a must.

Caution is also a much because of fears the technology could get out of hand. We obviously don’t want someone with less-than-honorable intentions takes this technology and does something to negatively impact humanity.

The feelings from the Board were overall mixed on the situation if this had not yet been made apparent. While acknowledging the scientific possibilities and potential benefits, the Board was also cautious with what this could mean from an ethical standpoint.