Genome Editing and the future of Sex
Genome editing has recently gain momentum with the advent of CRISPR (Clustered Regularly-Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats). Basically it’s a very proficient technique to slice and attach payload DNA into the subject cell’s DNA sequence. It has been used to alter human germ cells (egg and sperm cells). Since these germ cells are the foundation of all the sexually reproduced organisms, any genetic change is carried over to all of their body’s cells. Currently the technique is being used to disable cancer cells from ever development and remove genetic markers for depression and mental illnesses. But it has enormous potential, not CRISPR in particular but all the concept of controlling the genes.
Genome editing enables parents to control any and all features of their offspring from body weight to intelligence. It may even go a step further and add features we can only imagine; Fashionable horns? The Third eye? Wings like an Angel? Or perhaps Infra-red vision? Maybe not your cup of tea, but all of this and much more is possible with genetic modifications. Super-human abilities and features are all within it’s grasp because genes themselves are a result of evolution a.k.a entropy.
“Everything you can imagine is real” — Pablo Picasso
It’s controversial-biological-enhancement at it’s best and inevitable in far future (if the species works hard enough survive that long). The topic of this article is more down to the current reality and society though.
If genome-edit becomes the socially accepted norm and produces immortal humans, will this discourage reproduction and sex? The point of reproduction is to pass on the genes to the next generation because human bodies have an expiration date. It enables the genes to start-over in life as a newborn baby, take slightly different decisions and grow diverse by the next generation. Our genes are a miracle to marvel but at the same time they are painfully slow in to develop and limited by the efficiency requirements of our environment (planet Earth). True immortality, by definition will solve these long-hauled predicaments of evolution.
It will produce humans which are capable of developing and learning dynamically with their environment and adapt to it’s survival needs. They will have solved the problems of limited brains and regenerative organs. Before everything else, true immortality will produce humans capable of increasing the entropy in the universe at an accelerating rate (because that is the very point of evolution). For such beings, reproduction is merely a waste of time and energy. Neglecting the philosophy of bearing children and a chance to start-over as an organism, reproduction would definitely be classed an ancient activity performed by their less-intelligent ancestors.
“Sex will surely never go extinct, we do it for fun more than we do for reproduction”, did you say? Well sex can just as well be classified as a side-affect of introducing the concept of reproduction to self-conscious beings a.k.a humans.
I'm sorry but if reproduction goes extinct, so will sex.
What would you choose: True immortality with no sex? or Fragile mortality with plentiful sex?