*A new technology that will change the world has emerged, called CRISPR, an acronym for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat. While the mechanics of this technology are an essay all by itself, suffice to say that it is a technique that alters genes, the formula for life in DNA. Discovered by a food company that was studying a bacterium called Streptococcus thermophiles, it turns out that CRISPR has the ability to alter the genetic makeup of whatever DNA where ever it is applied. Even if CRISPR turns out unable to genetically alter human beings, it is one step closer to our ability to do so.
The backlash against GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) still rages, while disease-resistant plants that could keep populations healthy are ignored. Golden rice, which would prevent blindness in children in Third World countries, was shunned for quite some time, all due to unjustified fear of GMOs. (I wrote a very sad research paper on that topic.) CRISPR is (from my admittedly shallow understanding) another method of altering DNA to resist diseases, among other things. The question before us is whether we should use CRISPR to alter our genetic makeup, and, more importantly, to alter the DNA of our offspring to make them healthier.
If the genetic investigation indicates that your child will be autistic, and you had the ability to stop it, would you do it?”