Designer Babies and Genetic Engineering

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WeTheYouth
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Jan 4 2005 00:02
Designer Babies and Genetic Engineering

Is using science to eradicate all human ills and defects a bad thing or is it something we should embrace whole heartidly?

Apart from the mis-use of the science to create perfect humans or a master race we have an opportunity to remove genetic defects from humanity which would help people live better and longer lives. To me i think we should begin immediately, to think that cancer or ms can be consigned to the history books is something which must be a good thing right?

Jason Cortez
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Jan 4 2005 11:22

Unfortunately, it's not as simple as that. The possibilities for genetic medicine are very limited. There are very few conditions caused by a single gene defect, and treating multi-gene defects is whole different ball game. Even many single defect conditions don't cause problems for majority of people carrying them. There are other problems, such as what would preventing Down's syndrome mean to people actually living with the syndrome i.e. what value as people do they have. Also, should it be prevented because it's caused by a genetic defect since those with the syndrome can lead perfectly happy (if shorter) lives? Basically a medical model can't deal with the complexities of human experience. It's a big subject i'll post more when i have got time.

WeTheYouth
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Jan 4 2005 12:22

Genetic science is extremely advanced, if by replacing defects genes on a small scale then surely given time and more support it could be done better?

And a person living with downs syndrome unfortunately but a truth which you cannot deny will not have the same life chances or quality as life as a person without.

Jason Cortez
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Jan 7 2005 01:27

Genetic science is still in it's infancy, but the factors limiting genetic medicine are of such a high degree of complexity that it's appliacation will probaly always remain pretty limited. Illnesses caused by genetic defects alone are reasonably rare, there are usually a host of different enviromental and social factors that have a signifcant affect (cancer being a prime example). Even with congenital defects there are a host of differculties such as genes (or sections of ) having multiple functions, reccessiveness, treatment can only begin after brirth and carries mortality risks. i will try to write something a bit more in depth on the science in the next couple weeks (very slow writer, even slower typist).

Quote:
And a person living with downs syndrome unfortunately but a truth which you cannot deny will not have the same life chances or quality as life as a person without.

And the evidence for this ascertion is what exactly? igorance, stupidity, you suffer from a genetic defect that makes you incapable of reflective thought?

It this sort of scary bollocks that people still believe about 'disabilty' coupled with poor genetic science that makes 20th century eugenetics look positively benign.

LiveFastDiarrea
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Jan 7 2005 10:56

There is the fact that people with downs tend to die at an early age when compared to people who dont have downs.

3rdseason
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Jan 7 2005 12:10

It sounds good but theres something which unsettles me about it...

Im suspicious of new technologies.

Jason Cortez
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Jan 7 2005 19:51

LiveFastDiarrea wrote

Quote:
There is the fact that people with downs tend to die at an early age when compared to people who dont have downs.

I already mentioned this, and what is your point exactly? Are you saying that such people shouldn't exist in the future because they lack longevity?

The average life expectancy has increased by decades over the last 20 years.

Down's syndrome is probably a bad example ( embarrassed )because genetic medicine is extremely unlikely to ever have anything to offer in relation to this. The options for parents will remain the same after diagnosis(which is done whilst pregancy, at present it based on %'s ) either to abort or carry to term.

Jason Cortez
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Jan 7 2005 20:03

Forgot to mention that only a small number of Down's syndrome babies are hereditary. The rest are caused by 'genetic accidents' at conception.

WeTheYouth
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Jan 7 2005 23:42

Down syndrome abolished from humans by using genetic modification and replacement, that is a good thing.

Joe Hill
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Jan 8 2005 00:17

I agree.

Only problem is the capitalists control the means of production as usual and misuse will surely follow.

Jason Cortez
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Jan 8 2005 01:33

If you read my post I clearly point out this isn't gonna happen as only a tiny minority of occurrences of Down's syndrome are hereditary. Please explain why you think it's such a good thing instead just repeating yourself. There are major social and ethical issues at stake here. We have been barraged by the media (including scientific) with major breakthroughs stories over last 25 years and yet there is little to show for it, in terms of treatment. Diagnosis has come a lot further, but this has brought issues of it's own. What use is it for someone to be told they will develop an inherited illness if there is no treatment? The insurance companies are investing heavily in research to with diagnosis, I wonder why? Come on people, even if you see genetic research as purely benign (I am not opposed to discovering the genetic code etc) the enormous implications mean we have to critically access what's being sold to us.

Here’s a few sites I googled that might give you more of an overview

http://www.genetics-and-society.org/ a balanced, left of centre site

http://www.hgalert.org more mainstream

http://www.globalchange.com/books/Genesintro.htm free book from an American futureologist, no idea what’s it like but it’s free

http://www2. davidduke.com/index.php?p=29 scary right wing view

Joe Hill
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Jan 8 2005 21:21

What is a genetic accident at conception? Info pls. White hat.

Anarchoneilist
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Jan 9 2005 12:43

This is a good example of how (capitalist) individuals cannot be trusted with (certain) technologies.It should be made a criminal offence for corporations and states to have any information about our genes.

WeTheYouth
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Jan 9 2005 17:49

Why is it such a good thing, because in whatever society at whatever time people born with genetic defects will live a worse life than that of those who do not.

Quote:
only a tiny minority of occurrences of Down's syndrome are hereditary

Yes but the genetic defect can be eradicated through screening be it hereditary or not.

Quote:
We have been barraged by the media (including scientific) with major breakthroughs stories over last 25 years and yet there is little to show for it

eek Cancer deaths down, TB deaths almost eradicated the list is endless of the medical breakthroughs made over the last twenty five years.

Quote:
Come on people, even if you see genetic research as purely benign (I am not opposed to discovering the genetic code etc) the enormous implications mean we have to critically access what's being sold to us

Not all science is engineered to the benefit of capitalism. The only implications which i see are the exploitation of science for profit not the actual science itself.

Quote:
This is a good example of how (capitalist) individuals cannot be trusted with (certain) technologies.It should be made a criminal offence for corporations and states to have any information about our genes.

Know your jumping into conspiracy theories. The state doesnt have our genes get a grip on reality you fool, we can engineer our own genes for the betterment of humanity.

Jason Cortez
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Jan 10 2005 11:45

Joe Hill wrote

Quote:
What is a genetic accident at conception? Info pls. White hat.

It's a lay phrase meaning non-inherited genetic defect. See links below for more details. What does white hat mean?

http://www.intellectualdisability.info/diagnosis/genetics_ds.htm

http://www.ds-health.com/trisomy.htm

WeTheYouth wrote

Quote:
Yes but the genetic defect can be eradicated through screening be it hereditary or not.

as it's 'accident' conception it cannot be screen for until after it's happened, which is the situation now. Although there is an genetic compoment, it is unpredictable how this will express itself and in whom. See link for more info.

http://www.phgu.org.uk/info_database/diseases/downs_syndrome/downs.html#implications

Quote:
We have been barraged by the media (including scientific) with major breakthroughs stories over last 25 years and yet there is little to show for it

Cancer deaths down, TB deaths almost eradicated the list is endless of the medical breakthroughs made over the last twenty five years.

I was talking about research into genetic disease, obviously. Interestingly you cite cancer deaths as down. While there has been major breakthroughs in the treatment of some cancers, there is a massive debate over whether overall cancer numbers are on an increase (most sources are from industralise countries). See links below.

http://www.personalcstats.html.u-net.com/~njh/

http://www.macmillan.org.uk/news/news.asp?nid=866

http://collection.nlc-bnc.ca/100/201/300/cdn_medical_association/cmaj/vol-160/issue-12/news-12.htm#5

to help make sense of the jargon

http://www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WSIHW000/8096/8767.html

T.B has resurfaced in Britain and is far from being eradicated from the world.

Quote:
Not all science is engineered to the benefit of capitalism. The only implications which i see are the exploitation of science for profit not the actual science itself.

So Science remains unsullied by capitalism it's just it's application? Why should Science, which is after all a cultural practise, alone be free, existing in pure isolation, from the influence of capital? After all they did grow -up together.

Quote:
This is a good example of how (capitalist) individuals cannot be trusted with (certain) technologies.It should be made a criminal offence for corporations and states to have any information about our genes.

Know your jumping into conspiracy theories. The state doesnt have our genes get a grip on reality you fool, we can engineer our own genes for the betterment of humanity.

So how will you organise genetic screening for everyone, if not via the state? Maybe you missed the word information in the orginal post, as Anarchoneilist doesnot claim that the state has his genes.

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Why is it such a good thing, because in whatever society at whatever time people born with genetic defects will live a worse life than that of those who do not.

So you know the life experience of everyone do you? And you can evaluate their worth? So a child who is abused and grows up unhappy is better off than a deaf child who has been loved and grows up happy. I suppect your statement should had 'all things being equal' at the end. But their aren't, are they?

Anarchoneilist
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Jan 14 2005 12:07

There's an obvious danger with genetic engineering of creating a genetic super-class, however this doesn't mean that there shouldn't be research into inherited deseases.I guess inherited deseases weren't much of a problem in the past as people tended not to live long enough for them to be a problem.

"We can engineer our own genes for the betterment of humanity".

Mmm, and who exactly would own the patent for the technology?

I don't want to be confused with a primitivist (though I don't much care),

but the more technology develops the less it comes for free.

Garner
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Joined: 30-10-03
Jan 14 2005 12:24
Anarchoneilist wrote:
Mmm, and who exactly would own the patent for the technology?

I don't want to be confused with a primitivist (though I don't much care),

but the more technology develops the less it comes for free.

I'm sure even primitivists would agree that patents are to do with capitalism and not technology.

lucy82
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Jan 14 2005 17:53
Quote:
Down syndrome abolished from humans by using genetic modification and replacement, that is a good thing.

do people with downs get any say in this? there are, after all, deaf people who choose not to hear. ...