translated from Spanish: Filo, science Design babies: Can our genes be edited?

In 1997, the Gattaca film premiered with Ethan Hawk and Uma Thurman. A pure sci-fi story, in which the idea of genetically modifying a person to make them immune to disease, improving their brain capacity and so on was installed for the first time worldwide. What looked like something that was going to take several decades was only 15 years. In 2012 the journal Science brought out a paper where it claims to have found a way to edit genetic material with a tool called CRISPR/Cas.Basically, with this you can modify any DNA of a living being. It was first used in bacteria, which allowed scientists Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and in 2013 in the same journal it was confirmed that the same could be done in mice. It didn’t take long for that technology to reach humans, albeit of course, with the ethical controversies that it carries. “Human development is very fragile and you don’t know what impact it’s going to have on the rest of the system,” dr. Alejandro Villarreal of the Institute of Cleular Biology and Neurosciences said of this technique. In something that can be defined as madness, came the least espared day. In Hong Kong, when it was 2018, Lulu and Nana, twins edited in order to be protected for life against the HIV virus, were born. The action was carried out by the physician He Jiankui, who not only defended his idea, but also assured at world conferences that he had done so in his own son. For this action, he was sentenced to three years in prison and it is practically impossible for him to re-step a laboratory. If you wonder if the “operation” was a success, we have to tell you that it’s very hard to know. At the moment, Lulu and Nana turned two and are still living their normal lives, but to make the “experiment” end they would have to be infected with the HIV virus and reject it, but it is impossible to determine if anyone will have such a cold mind to try. So does genetic modification of babies work? Is it worth it?

Original source in Spanish

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