The Panther Perspective

Modified Humans

Makayla Carrico, reporter

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Genetically modifying, the biggest technology advancement in our time, but is it our best creation for the survival of humanity? In Mr. Post’s SCI-FI/ Fantasy his students are currently reading a book called Feed by M.T. Anderson. “M. T. Anderson’s Feed is the story of a failing futuristic society that is controlled by large corporations. People are taught to value objects, money, and entertainment over everything else. Almost all of the characters have computer-like devices called “feeds” installed in their heads. This allows them to communicate with each other instantly and look up any information they want, but it also sends them a constant stream of advertisements” (eNotes.com). In this society M.T. Anderson has set a story where humans have created a society where our technology has sprung us into a new dimension, to create a story Anderson made it to where although humans have the world literally at their hands, they are consumed by their “feeds” to the point that if it malfunctions they find themselves faced with the possibility of their brain being “low battery”. This technology was turned into a negative situation but could genetically modifying genes be as atrocious as M.T. Anderson’s plot with computer-devices planted in our heads?

 

Humans have been putting foreign objects into their physical bodies long before Anderson’s fictional story of the future. Mankind has been finding new ways to live more successfully for centuries, adapting. Genetically modifying is another adaptation we have created to make whatever we need or want more to become more accessible. It wasn’t until recently did humanity discover genetically modifying true capabilities.

 

If there was a way to cure cancer, all types of diseases, and live an extra 1,000 or so years would you say yes? In recent years scientists have been hard at work to achieve these goals by genetically modifying genes. But with its expensive cost genetically modifying was not at its height. Through a newly developed program called CRISPR(clusters of regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) scientist are regularly able to test and study genetically modified genes. Technology like this scientist are able to change the genetic ‘blueprint’ of living organisms and do it on a daily basis. At CRISPR the main focus is on, “developing transformative gene-based medicines for serious human diseases”(crispr.com).  It can become very confusing and derailing when trying to figure out exactly what CRISPR is and how the program changes or effects our society. But according to Livesciene.com explains it as this, “CRISPR technology is a simple yet powerful tool for editing genomes. It allows researchers to easily alter DNA sequences and modify gene function. Its many potential applications include correcting genetic defects, treating and preventing the spread of diseases and improving crops. However, its promise also raises ethical concerns.” One of these concerns are creating “designer babies”, while it may be intriguing at first to pick your babies eye color, hair color, and the height of their intelligence but  as impressive as it is to have your own personally designed babydoll, the thought of an organization or power having that capability sends the alert buzzers for a whirlwind.

“The cloning of humans is on most of the lists of things to worry about from Science, along with behaviour control, genetic engineering, transplanted heads, computer poetry and the unrestrained growth of plastic flowers”(Lewis Thomas). Back in Mr. Thomas’s days science discoveries like these were considered an abomination to humanity, what’s crazy to process is we as humans have already done half of the once denounced advancements. As little as we know about CRISPR and its pro’s and con’s, a chinese scientist has already “stoked controversy in 2018 when he claimed to have used CRISPR to edit the genes of twin girls before their birth in order to make them immune to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.” Only time will tell, the advancements but also the downfalls of CRISPR.

On the final note whether you agree or disagree, there will be positives and negatives to modifying genes. We could see super humans, food that doesn’t perish, and a world where diseases don’t exist. The question we should all be asking isn’t should we do it, it should be what are the unseen unplanned consequences of genetically modifying? There’s only one way to find out.

 

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Modified Humans