Hello Dolly, Goodbye Evolution

In Columns, Science, World
Hello Dolly, Goodbye Evolution

Since 1996 when Dolly was born, other sheep have been cloned from adult cells. But back in 1996, it was such a big controversy in religious and ethics circles that the science went back behind the curtains while continuing the research out of the eyes of the mainstream public. Over the years cats, rabbits, horses, fish, donkeys, pigs, goats, and cattle have all been successfully cloned and genetically modified. And like with all controversial topics, the results are released in minute amounts so it can be integrated on a more acceptable level to the public. Improvements in the cloning technique have created a market for elite breeding livestock, but still with a hefty price tag, yet seen as a great investment in the commercial industries. Although I am by far not knowledgeable on the breeding practices of the farm industries, I do know enough that they pay thousands of dollars in stud fees. So I have to wonder; how many breeders invested $100,000 for an elite genetically altered bull or stallion? The next question is how many of us have eaten a juice t-bone steak or hamburger from the offspring. When exactly did the horse racing industries like the Kentucky Derby actually change in front of our eyes?

It’s like how Genetically Modified foods (GMO) was a hot topic for years, but now has been accepted. They are hoping we will see benefits from genetically altering or editing the human genes. In 2016, British scientists were given permission by regulators to genetically modify human embryos by using what is known as CRISPR-Cas9 and other techniques. However, researchers were forbidden from implanting the embryos and the embryos were to be destroyed after seven days. What is troubling about this information is not only do we already have policies in place but the policy regulations for the CRISPR system varies around the world.

Can you imagine if some country allows the embryos to be implanted and we have a population of genetically enhanced or modified humans? Designer babies where you can go in and say, ‘make my baby look like my favorite movie star’, or blond with green emerald eyes and as smart as Einstein. What if they enhance the personality to be prone to being a leader of all things great. On the other side of the coin, it could be the perfect military enhancement. Children made to order are predisposed to live as a “Perfect Soldier” or perfect killing machine.

The last little while they published scientific papers claiming they spliced and sliced some gene sequences in pigs to rid them of disease so they can be modified for human organ transplants. They claim it’s a few years away, but in all reality, it is on our door step.

It all comes down to the age old question. “It’s not a matter of could it be done, but should it be done?” What is going to happen to our natural process of evolution?

Maybe with the climate change, we should be working on Terraforming instead.

K. Waters
Writer, Blogger, Mother

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