Is there something you would alter about your appearance? From your endless rants about the fifty shades of dark circles under your eyes to you blaming your parents’ genes to be the source of your increasing acne, isn’t a real life face-editor all that you need? With all the revolutionary development time has introduced us to, comes an ingenious technology, CRISPR. It sounds like a breakfast cereal but CRISPR has the power to literally reshape humanity by helping scientists to make edits to any DNA, and in turn, allowing you to have your desired features too. And some of you still think your iPhones are the pinnacle of technological advancements (don’t even try to @ me).
Suddenly, we have the power to edit genomes like a word processor by splicing in new genes with surgical precision. Even our own immune system can be reprogrammed to hunt down a genetic cancer cell. Diseases such as cardiac issues and diabetes which have been affecting our ancestors can be prevented from growing in a person through this technology. I am sure the STEM students reading this are having a blast, but I’ll spare everyone else the potential confusion and get to the actual fun part now.
Though CRISPR has the ability to make people better can it also be used to make better people? If parents wanted a green-eyed baby, or one with blonde hair, can this be turned into reality? Well, yes: designer babies are now a thing! Our succeeding generations would not have to worry about being mocked for being the shortest in their friend circles or about showing the ‘better’ side of their face in a selfie.
This technology is currently in use by many medical companies and can become more common in the near future. With all this development, the fact that differentiating a designer baby from a completely natural one would be difficult in the coming years makes me a little anxious. Moreover, discussing the disadvantages and dangers introduced alongside this invention is beyond the scope of this article so maybe I’ll have to write another one. Till then, stay curious!