We will not do the smart kids using CRISPR. Because we can not
in the field of genetic research experts suggest that our worst fears regarding the editing of genes does not come true, because they are too difficult to implement. You see, one of the main concerns, which makes public CRISPR gene editing technique is that it can be used to create "designer babies" with a high level of intelligence. In the worst case this could give an unfair advantage to parents who can afford to improve their offspring. For example, a survey of residents of an American city Pew in July 2018 showed that their greatest concern is that the CRISPR "will be available only to the wealthy."
They should not worry, comforted their three leading academics in the field of gene editing. Intelligence is too complex, so it can be to design, which is good, because it is intelligence will save us from the dangers of human arrogance.
Design and CRISPR infants
In November, the Chinese scientist Hye Tszyankui said that secretly used gene editing tool for creating twin girls, are immune to HIV. This caused alarm because it showed that the production of designer babies not only can not be stopped - it is already happening.
But public concern over the creation of the intellectual elites, probably does not have the ground of reality. So say researchers who have published the work last week in the New England Journal of Medicine. The article was written by George Daly, dean of the Harvard School of Medicine and two European experts in embryology, Robin Lovell-Badge and Julie Shteffann.
"In the long term, our greatest protection against improper editing of the genome may be the inability to influence traits such as intelligence, which arise as a result of complex interactions of multiple genes and environments," they wrote.
We're tied up more than a thousand genes to IQ and success of the people in the school. At the moment, scientists do not know what these genes and, more importantly, gene editing tools have not yet gone so far as to alter the genes of the embryo in many places.
For the authors of the article is ignorance - bliss. They want to edit genes was used to eradicate genetic diseases in embryos - and believe that it is quite possible. Since severe congenital diseases such as cystic fibrosis or Huntington's syndrome, frequently caused by specific DNA errors in separate genes, they can be corrected by CRISPR. It is said that to do it in the bud - the best way to get rid of the problem.
Daley and other scientists now want to make this kind of medicine moved forward. But it will be more difficult if the gene editing is used roughly, since the regulators will continue to prohibit it, and public opinion will deteriorate.
In the case of twins, Xe Tszyankui said deleted gene called of CCR5, to make them resistant to HIV. Although Hye was in a sense the first, Daly and colleagues believe that it was shameful study, violates the rules of ethics. It forever be remembered for reckless disregard widely labeled scientific, clinical and ethical standards. He is under house arrest now.
And this is just the beginning - in fact there are very good reasons for changing the embryos. For example, if a couple can not have healthy children or do not want to transfer genes risky when trying to conceive a child using IVF. Whatever it was, CRISPR used for the purposes that the public considers alarming. Most people belong to this great tool, if it is to eradicate the disease. But only 20% believe that using it to "improve" the human - in particular, to improve the intelligence of offspring - a good idea.
Fortunately for the scientists, they do not need to decide whether it is good or bad - to improve the intelligence of the embryo. They say it's impossible, so nothing to worry about.
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