Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Cloning, Genetic Engineering...

In China, a factory is about to go online. It makes cows.

Cloned cows.

And the scientist behind it says there's no reason not to clone humans...except possible negative reaction. (Especially in China, where human reproduction is extremely controlled).

And right now, right here - in Washington - scientists and policymakers from the US, Britain and, yes, China are meeting at the National Academy of Sciences (I could go wave if I wanted) to discuss the ramifications of CRISPR technology - which has just been used to make a strain of mosquitos immune to malaria - in humans. (And yes, those mosquitos will breed true, which is why they're running the experiment a few more generations before releasing them). CRISPR changes affect the germline - but promise cures for genetic diseases.

And, of course, designer babies. Hence the summit.

The thing is? No matter what restrictions and regulations the summit tries to put on CRISPR - it exists. It's out there. It will be used. And these technologies bring with them fear and hope.

Will a wealthy man who hates relationships hire a cloning company to produce not just an identical heir but one made to be "smarter" than he is?

Are we in danger of seeing the next clone factory turning out janitors? (Unlikely - robots are much more effective - but what about soldiers?)

I believe we have crossed the line - from now on, human evolution will be governed not externally but internally. We can't step back. This genie isn't going back in the bottle.

So, maybe the real answer these scientists need to answer now is: What should humanity become?