The Era of Genetic Engineering
We are on the brink of an era of genetic engineering that is going to permanently alter the world in so many unimaginable ways. This is why philosophers increasingly debate about the ‘question of enhancement’. Simply put, the argument centers around whether or not someone should ever be allowed to decide the fate of a child by prenatally programing it, and then to what extent this should be allowed. In fact, the issue is becoming more and more relevant as time goes on.
Not long from now, gene therapy will allow for the transplantation of normal genes into cells in place of missing or defective ones, in labs all across the globe. Embryonic screening for disease is already quite routine in many places. The thing is that, not long from now, nearly every parent will refuse to have babies born with manic depression, Down’s syndrome, and scores of other conditions. One day, under the justification of quality of life concerns, genetic disorders and inherited diseases will be seen as matters of public health and safety.
The mindset surrounding an unborn child will ultimately switch from thinking that it is wrong to tamper with a fetus, to one in which it is wrong not to tamper with a fetus. At first, people will just use this as a preventative measure against diseases and disorders, but then as time goes on, it will become more and more common to select for specific desirable traits, as well. This will eventually just become the new standard. It will even get passed into law.
Due to all of the artificial chromosome upgrades that everyone will get, nearly everyone will then be a mutant. As genetically modified organisms, they will be more than just human. Every GMO is the result of an artificial selection process in which genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and spliced into that of another. In this way, foreign code from anything can be introduced into anyone, including that of bacteria, viruses, insects, animals and even other people. The possibilities are endless.
In the not-too-distant future, people will be able to give their kids all kinds of superpowers like enhanced memory, strength, endurance, and flexibility. Although, it’s not just comic book characters that will come to life. By manipulating the genomes of their children, parents and legal guardians will also be able to control their height and weight, among numerous other things. People will even be able to decide if someone is heterosexual or homosexual, and that’s a great deal of power.
On top of that, these made-to-order babies will only consume genetically modified products. The industrialized world is basically already at that point now. In the end though, all the domesticated plants and animals everywhere will be genetically modified. Natural selection may even become obsolete on Earth. The selective breeding of pets and livestock for maximum utility will surely be universal. We already have fast growing salmon and featherless chickens to eat today, so just imagine what tomorrow will bring. Editing technology is going to alter the world forever. Soon, everything will be genetically engineered.