Chinese Scientists Edit Genes of Human Embryos, Raising Concerns
By Gina Kolata
The New York Times
April 23, 2015Aurora
Throughout 2015 experiments about editing genes have been going on. Though other scientists around the world had talked about doing gene editing experiments, this article is about the Chinese scientists who attempted to edit genes. These experiments will affect many people when there is a definite way to edit genes. Many people have cancerous genes in their DNA and after scientists find a way to edit genes we will have the potential opportunity to take these cancerous genes (and other diseases) out of people’s DNA before they are born. Editing genes could benefit everyone. The recent experiments took place in China. What they were hoping for was all of the cells to be changed so there would be no diseases but the DNA of the embryo would stay unaltered. Out of the 85 embryos they experimented on, none of them turned out the way that they wanted. In the Chinese experiments defective embryos were used so that a baby would never be born. Other scientists helped along the way, but the research was being done primarily by Chinese scientists. In order to edit genes the scientists use the CRISPR method.
“This is an unsafe procedure and should not be practiced at this time, and perhaps never.” - Dr. George Q. Daley
This quote reflects what most scientists feel about editing genes. Not only are people worried about the dangers of this type of experiment, they are worried about the ethics involved with genetic experimentation.
Editing genes is news that is very important. Maybe not to the people in the world who don’t have a disease that is killing them. Peter Warlick, a very close family friend has lou gehrig's disease. His children are four and six. He has two years to live, and in those two years he will get very sick. Imagine what he would do to not have lou gehrig's disease. I know that editing genes was not being experimented on before he was born, but this shows how important editing genes is. So many people watch their friends and families die from diseases. Now, we are on the edge of finding a way to make editing genes possible. I chose this article and topic because sooner or later scientists will find a way to edit genes. Scientists will be able to save many people’s lives before they are even alive.
I believe that editing genes is amazing. Being able to edit a gene that has a disease is remarkable. Other people think that editing genes is dangerous and unethical. Obviously it is dangerous, but that shouldn’t mean that scientists shouldn’t pursue this area of science. What experiment has had no danger in it? When scientists know how to edit genes without harming an embryo, there will be babies who are born with no diseases because the gene that carried a disease will have been taken out of them.
Chinese scientists did an experiment on editing genes. Even though they did not get what they were hoping for, every time scientists do more experiments on editing genes we learn more. Just like Jonas Salk’s experiments with finding a vaccine for polio, many people are fearing the outcomes of editing genes. I think that editing genes will be an amazing scientific discovery.