Supreme Court to Consider Whether Patents on Genes Are Valid; Verdict post 30
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12-11-2012, 12:33 AM
The Eternal Skeptic
Join Date: Feb 2006
Originally Posted by
Crom an actual science perspective though- how friggin cool is that?! I had no idea we were at the point of crafting unique genes, and actually applying them too! I think it's awesome that someone has figured out a way to get the human body to accept not just new genetic material, but man-made genetic material.
Designer babies not far off, eh?
Very exciting stuff. Very dangerous as well. Next 50-100 years or so is going to be huge for human development. Can we harness and properly implement developments such as this? Who is going to control this technology? How will be it used?
Obviously at first, the focus is to eliminate genes for health care. Now you patent this to protect investments. Fine, they are protecting the investment, makes sense. But then are only the rich and privileged going to get access to this technology? Will then only the rich and privileged will be able to basically artificially extend their lives, or extend the lives of their offspring? It will never stop at mere health care. Then you will have identified genes for increased intelligence, athletic ability, removing mental health problems, small and large. Pretty soon we are talking about a segregating of society based on pre-determined bought genetic markers.
People like to think we will be better than to fall into a "Gattaca" type society based on privileges from birth, but will we actually?
With designer babies you could end up with a society directly slanted towards males versus females (or vice versa). You could end up having a society dependant designer babies when unforeseen consequences from recessive genes that will only become evident generations in the future that could have disastrous consequences. The possibilities for problems are as limitless as the possibilities for enhancement of the species.
The very easy example to use is of course the designed sports player (particularly relevant on a sports forum). I design my baby to have the perfect hockey body. He grows up with Ovechkin's natural tools, Gretzky's hockey smarts. Is that legal when he was basically "programmed" to have those natural advantages? It's not that far away.
I am not a fear mongerer, I believe that research such as this is hugely valuable. This IS the future, whether people will be willing to admit it or not. But we must understand consequences as well as results.
This is one of the many issues that humanity will be dealing with in the very near future of which we have no prior experience. Government, war, classes, racism, etc are problems people have been dealing with since the beginning of civilization. We are entering an era where we are going to be asking questions that have no historical context, nothing to draw on. Designer babies, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, "downloading" people into electronic mediums, cloning organs/people these things are going to define humanity over the next 50-100 years. How will we cope? I don't know, but I certainly cannot wait to find out
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