Designer Babies: The Science and Ethics of Genetic Engineering

Designer Babies: The Science and Ethics of Genetic Engineering

Have you ever dreamt of having awesome super-human
powers like the X-men? With recent improvements in gene therapy,
the reality of designer babies is closer than ever. But this begs the question; if you were having
a child- would you want to pick and choose their traits? Is this even ethical? And how far can the use of these technologies
actually go? Remember, we post new content every single
week, so subscribe to our channel and click that bell icon, so you don’t miss out! Now, back to the video… The phrase ‘designer baby’ refers to one
whose genetic makeup has been altered or chosen to provide the desired genome. There are currently three technologies that
have been developed to enable this, all of which involve manipulating fertilised eggs
before in-vitro fertilisation: 1. Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis This is the simplest of the three methods,
and doesn’t involve any gene editing. Instead, it involves choosing between viable
eggs for the one that best satisfies what the parents want. For example, it can be used to screen for
diseases or even to pre-determine gender. 2. TALEN’s TALEN’s, which stands for ‘Transcription
Activator-Like Effector Nucleases’. These are enzymes that can be designed to
remove specific parts of the DNA strands. They then replace this section, thus allowing
edits to be made. In theory this technique can be used to target
any section of DNA, and has been used to design plants, fuels, and even pets to certain specifications. 3. CRISPR CRISPR, which stands for ‘Clustered Regularly
Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats’, is a process that was discovered in the DNA
sequence of certain bacteria. Their DNA contained snippets of the DNA of
viruses that have previously attacked them to allow them to recognise any threat in the
future. The method by which this new DNA becomes a
part of their own has been replicated to allow the modification of other DNA strands. This again, in theory, allows edits to be
made to any part of the genome. So can these methods be used on humans? Of these three, only the use of Preimplantation
Genetic Diagnosis is already being used for human pregnancies, with the first known case
being in 1988. There remains a long way to go before the
other two methods are deemed safe enough for human use and, as far as has been made public,
there have not yet been uses on a human embryo. Despite only one of these methods being currently
used, there are a number of options that are available to parents. Their eggs can be screened for Gender, Appearance,
Intelligence, Disease, and Personality. Of these, the most common type of screening
is for diseases, particularly for couples who are at high risk of passing them on to
their offspring. Screening for other aspects remains highly
controversial, and in most countries, illegal. Crucially, this technique doesn’t allow
the editing of the genome, but the ability to choose between already viable eggs and
decide which one to proceed with during pregnancy. Another emerging technology is that of three-person
babies. This is a procedure that means a baby has
three genetic parents, with a third person providing the Mitochondrial DNA. This can prevent the development of issues
such as muscular dystrophy, and certain heart and liver conditions. Future Possibilities for Designer Babies As scientists perfect techniques of genetic
manipulation, especially those of TALEN’s and CRISPR, the possibilities that become
unlocked are, theoretically, endless. It will become possible to design every part
of the genome, whether it’s eye colour, hair colour, disease resistance- or far more
advanced traits. What if you could increase brain function,
muscle mass, or eyesight? Lifespans could be lengthened, or perhaps
new human abilities could be developed- So much so, that creating real-life X-men could
come within the realm of possibility. How Will This Change Society? While regulations prohibit these types of
changes, the technology will become so prevalent that more complex designer babies are sure
to happen at some point. There are clear benefits to this; it would
reduce genetic and inherited diseases or conditions, the child will have a better chance to succeed
in life, life spans will increase, and children could be given genes that their parents don’t
possess. But a number of negatives are associated with
this as well. There would be an increased number of terminated
embryos, which many believe to already constitute as living beings. There could be damage to the overall gene
pool, children would have no choice about how their genes will be altered, and there
will be a loss of individuality as everyone become more like a generic ideal. Furthermore, some genes could have multiple
purposes and, if changed, could have wildly unpredictable consequences, and it could lead
to the development of new diseases and vulnerabilities. Main Ethical Issues The main ethical issues about gene modification
is the question of who determines which traits are good or bad? We risk eliminating unique and different people
from society, and that is a problem. The process of designing a baby would also
be incredibly expensive, at least in the beginning. This means that it will be something only
accessible to the rich, and lead to further inequalities in society. The ability to create designer babies is far
closer than we might think and, in some cases, it’s already taking place. While it seems like there are many benefits
to procedures like these, our desire to control every aspect of nature could potentially lead
to our downfall.

78 thoughts on “Designer Babies: The Science and Ethics of Genetic Engineering

  1. Since it already seems abit illegal in some cases, I have a gut feeling that this may turn into a black market, when revolving around exagerated changes of course. Getting rid of inherited diseases and conditions is the only part of which I am going to agree on. Such as like you said "loss of individuality", designer babies are going to be way to similar, they'll drive for the same dreams and goals 😔

    Good vid btw 👍

  2. There are no ethics you are altering the human race if you think this is ok you NEED to be in a mental institution!

  3. It sounds very cool but also I think it's wrong. Diseases, okay. But altering anything else is too much of playing God. It's a no from me!

  4. Thanks for that video. Great explanation and discussion of the topic. It's very difficult to condense such a topic into 5-minute videos. I was wondering how you screen for personality? Afaik, molecular genetics of personality traits (and temperament) are still in their infancy.

  5. Why did you stopped posting new videos you said we post new videos every week please post some new videos. I love your videos soo much

  6. Is it possible to view a source list for this video? or if you have any articles or sources that you accessed? My dissertation is on this subject and this video was brilliant 🙂

  7. i like this idea because I want my baby to be strong healthy smart and beautiful or handsome for their future. Because it doesn't matter whether it's ethical or not.

    They will be more advanced than others because their abilities will come from birth. (literally)

  8. This is the last weapon than can be used to save human live. I rather increase the human resistance to the same level of radiation nuke.

  9. Main problem with this is what is considered good & bad outside a select few things is highly arbitrary. Every country & culture has their own ideas of what is considered desirable & undesirable in people. Think of things like how people in different countries act. Is there really any one true 'right' way to live? This answer is no. This is part of why countries even exist.

  10. I feel when it’s good enough it should be allowed but have some regulations so we don’t get out of hand: ie baby with porcupine quills.

  11. We have to do this up to some point in the long term. Not because we need designer babys but to avoid bad consequences of our healthsystem. We knocked of the principle of "natural selection" with our healthsystem. In the long term genetic diseases will accumulate. (This effect is known from animals in farms with good healthcare). One day we have to do the work of evolution by ourselfes. We are lucke that genetic engineering is not nearly as brutal as mother nature.

  12. the very few rich will try to reach God status with genetic engineering and transhumanism then they will fight each other and the world will end theres always a best next model in everything just like computers

  13. My cousins a designer baby I’m not and we look very alike. I got my genetics by luck they got theirs from their mother choosing what she wanted lol

  14. The term designer baby sounds so wrong. Why is having a child naturally a bad thing? So we are treating babies like products now? Like toy dolls not actual people.

  15. The only places where theres prohibition is in the u.s and europe. China already started making genetically modified humans free of cancer, hiv and degenerative diseases, soon they will have real life versions of captain america but millions of them.

  16. I suffer from conditions with a genetic basis; Asthma and peripheral neuropathy … It sucks. I approve of genetic engineering on human beings …

  17. "Affordable only to the rich…" this further separates the socioeconomic gap leading to the future dystopia we often see in movies

  18. Now we know why Noah built the Ark to help save God creation from angelic beings and among many things of forbidden knowledge. The fallen angels still mulipulating his creation.

  19. designer babies with multiple fathers… designer bastards nothing more… ALL AMERICA KNOWS IS HOW TO CREATE BASTARDS.. WHO IS YOUR FATHER BOY???..HMMMM??? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7, MOM WHO IS MY FATHER?, SON YOU ARE A BASTARD

  20. They should hurry and fix it so humans can begin utilizing it safely. My Asian side of family can finally stop nagging me about diluting the family Genes by being with black guy. Lol.

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