genetic modification ethical and moral issues

I've been seeing alot of posts lately about genetic modification and it has me excited and slightly concerned,
obviously no one is going to be modifying their genes in their garage today or anytime in the near future (and if you are, please message me because i want in on that action). So as a community I would like us to stay a bit ahead of the game and open up a discussion now on what we think is and isn't ok and maybe consider forming some sort of community guidelines; obviously we won't be able to enforce anything, but recommending and discouraging possibly dangerous modifications should be considered. 

For instance, I suggest we don't edit any genes that can be passed down to future generations, so that means nothing in the testicles/ovaries and nothing with eggs/sperm. 

The complications of this are unknown and risking the lives of our children and future generations isn't worth the risk especially if enough people screw up their genes, they could ultimately alter the evolution of humanity.

Another issue, making sure we don't accidentally create anything lethal that could cause some sort of disease or something.

With that being said, I would say any other genetic modifications are ok. Everyone here is ok with stepping into the unknown and risking danger and harming their bodies for the sake science and be so go at your own risk. 

so lets open this up and add in what else we should try to discourage or what we should encourage /  what direction we should go in. 


  • You're talking about restricting a technology that barely exists. That's the opposite of innovation.
  • There was a abortion clinic/couple that was doing prescreening for things like cancer and what not, to me it just seemed to close to what the nazis were doing with all that master race type stuff.... The idea of genetic selective births is one I find eerie. I read that back and realize I sound like a conspiracy theorists nut job, I assure you that it is real.... It was a local news article can't find it now, I only remember that cause they had had like 20 abortions tryin to "make" the perfect kid. Here is a CNN article on the practice:

    If your looking for ethnical issues with genealogy/genetics that's really about it.... I agree with what glims said, we know more than you think.... We have made decent progress on milking spider silk from a goat, that has to account for something don't you think?
  • Is there any way of genetically modifying an adult?  In a way, it might be nice to pick and chose the traits your children would have but it would be even better if you could change yourself and let your children decide if they want horns, a tail, or glowing skin when they are older.
  • @birdhandz as far as i know, no, there isn't currently a way to genetically modify an adult, but what you suggested is more along the lines of what im suggesting, not doing anything toyourself that would alter your future children without their consent. 

    @glims im not talking about just restricting things out right, like i said we have no authority over what other grinders choose to do and not do, and even if we did, how are going to enforce it? troll them? im just thinking that maybe we should start to consider what sort of direction we should go towards as a community, and what directions we should consider avoiding; and while yes, this tech barely exists right now, it still exists, and one day sooner or later we're going to have to ask and answer these questions, and re-answer them, and re-re-answer them again. 

    @johndoe yeah that article pretty much summarizes my fears of what harm could come from this, such as the rise of a genetically elite class of people, however, turning kids into commodities is not something I'm to worried about. 

  • @jordygordy
    The same issue arises with a real NZT, stuff like that threatens the natural order of society.

    Some one here put it like this, you would need a cancer that knows when to stop being a cancer.... How I could figure that part out let me know if you do.
  • This post is starting to go back in the direction of a previous post asking about the same thing in regards to selective breeding. I would air on the side of caution as to the discussion.

    Removing things from the unborn that could be bad in the future is one subject but deciding to only breed for certain characteristics and rejecting the ones that don't meet the stand is another.
  • edited August 2016
    You “can” genetically modify adult cells. Grab your cells and treat with certain things (can’t remember but can find out if people want). This will produce induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). You can then alter them to your hearts content with the CRISPR/CAS9 stuff. Let them grow for a little then force them to differentiate into a tissue type with more select chemicals. Then reimplant them. No risk of rejection as they are your cells. If not fully differentiated when you implant, congratulations you have cancer.

    That all said… it’s not happening anytime soon. Outlined above is how they plan to personalize medicine so treatments are tailored to the individual rather than tailoring it to the problem like they do now. And it’s not as far along as it could be due to heavy restrictions (ethics) on human DNA editing. While we are not as constrained in ethics as they are, our problem is access to materials and tools.
  • Pardon my thread necromancy here. I don’t feel particularly bad since the moral and ethical questions are still with us and I hope to add to the conversation.
    Often I hear choosing appearances as the most unacceptable application of HGGE. Examining the worse case scenario who are we to condemn a couple who intentionally became pregnant because they want a child with say his family’s blue eyes and her exceptional blonde hair? You can say the couple’s pursuit of cosmetic features are frivolous and vain but the couple has made a commitment to provide for that child they by definition want. Compare this to another woman who is experiencing a pregnancy scare purely because she and or just the person she was with wanted sex. If we’re sitting in judgment on motives on why other people want to or are having children, which I find dubious to begin with, I don’t find particular fault with the couple wanting to influence the aesthetics of their child as much as I can find fault with the some of the motives of those using the au naturel method.

  • Are the moral and ethical questions still with us @Stella ? We still tryna figure out what violations of rights look like?

    I too think children are super happy when their parents make choices for them based off the parents values and aesthetics. Nothing makes a kid feel special to be altered without consent on genetic level to be an ego piece for their parent, Right? I mean, why just name your daughter Khalisi when you can tweak her like a little doll so she looks like your favorite tv persona of the season when she comes out? Also the fact that you have to use the blond hair blue eyes as the example? You get a cheap 14yrold kid thrill out of saying things that has casual readers thinking you sound like you're ok with the master race if the parents think it would be nice? You are 3 degrees left of kick starting yet another eugenics conversation. So edgy.

    Let's look at this paper and then you tell me, do you know someone who wished their kid believed a bit more in Jesus? That sound like something you want john and jane midwest shaking into the batter before the bun goes in the oven?
    What kind of logic is "they chose to have this kid so they should be allowed to hot mod it in the womb for their own personal aesthetics"? Didn't realize we had slipped back into kids are basically property here, but it's cyclical so I shouldn't be surprised.

    I can't believe y'all are struggling with this tho. A whole community of don't tell me what to do with my biology, my body my choice, nigh upon libertarian individualists... all pondering and playing what if games with parents altering their children on purpose with a technology we barely understand , for their own ego.

    Cog dis much? Or is the appeal of ego driven self choice so important that you literally can't grasp the reactions of the individuals who would be modified? With, I might add again, janky tech that we barely manage to use. Gene mod babies become gene mod teenagers. How would you have responded to your parents choosing your look for you on purpose? There is a hate my hair and the fact that you even gave birth to me, vs, i hate my hair and you did this to me on purpose. 30 whole seconds of critical thinking...

    Also, you "can" genetically modify mature cells, just it sucks to do in a whole organism. The level of understanding of these things is basically nil in this community. Full organism therapy that hits each cell is kind of a thing but also a huge pain in the ass. Most claims by the community of shortcuts for modification have been shown to be no better than ecoli laden saline.

    Selfish and shortsighted. This isn't an ongoing ethical discussion. It's a jerk off session for people that have limited understanding of biology and a desperate need for autonomy in their own life, to the extent that they will stop considering others if it means it gives them the dopamine hit of control and validity they crave.

    also, even though it isn't based in reality, we'd all love to have the randos out there talking about how gay is a gene and your parents gave it to you and that's why the state of ohio has decided you need to be medicated and in the care of the state instead of an loving family.

    Read the fuckin room, people.

  • @glims, you seem to be arguing that human rights extend to the genes of zygotes being involatile; eggs and sperm too perhaps (Humanae vitae)? If in your hands was a proven safe technology to correct Huntington’s disease in an embryo and a pregnant woman with that diagnosis for her unborn child begged for your help would you turn her away?
    In my example, knowing I was the wanted child of the couple I would feel better than as the child of the other woman knowing I stated off as a mistake or an accident, that is if I wasn’t aborted. I will go on record, I find selecting for solely for appearance wrong when used with PGD right now.
    You invoked the eu- word not me. It sounds to me you’re appearance shaming people for having blonde hair and blue eyes just like when women with a large chest should cover up due to some sort of perceived inherent indecency. So, it’s bad if you happen to have blonde hair and in your heart of hearts you want your kid to inherit it but it wouldn’t be bad if your hair was red or black or brown?
    I will try to get the paper you linked and get back to you.
    As a parent if there was a safe proven option to give my children say 50 more years of healthy life span or an average of 50 more IQ points I’d take it because I along with most parents want my kids to be healthy and smart, the same reason I sent them to sports and school. If after that my kids don’t want to be healthy or smart, their choice.

  • ah, of course. First, let's not assume what my beliefs are. It never works right. So, let's start talking about diseases now. You didn't lead with that but I understand that backtracking is needed sometimes. Huntingtons isn't like eye color, but you know that. If you find selecting on appearance wrong, don't use it as an example. It really makes thing confusing. See, when I referenced your example, you made the example, so I wasn't making an assumption. You just misspoke. That's ok.
    I mean, otherwise, your logic process is "gene mods can help people with genetic conditions and therefore we should also be able to make arbitrary decisions about other peoples personal genetics who will be alive, for aesthetic reasons". And that is crazy, so I am sure you didn't mean to imply that. That's some... what's it called? Spurious correlation.

    "You brought up eugenics, not me". Really? Geez, it it just all high schoolers here again? You brought up blonde haired blue eyed babies. If you don't have the social awareness to see that this could be misconstrued, then there are bigger issues at play and you should maybe consider how misaligned many things might be from your POV. Don't strawman me, or maybe it's ad hom, I can't recall. But, don't. I will eat you. That's two glaring logical fallacies. Let's see if we can get a hat trick.

    It would equally suck if it was for any color, since you asked. It's about the right of the child who will be alive. Not the embryo. See, the babies, after they are born, are people that have thoughts and opinions. Don't try to muddy the issue. Reading comprehension is a must in science. This is also another fallacy. Someone get this person a special badge for their profile.

    As a person who knows a bit about the limits of what IQ actually means, and the lack of correlation to it creating a better life, I believe you just put forth an excellent example of why parents should not be swinging their proverbial dicks around in their children's genes. An premium example of some one with limited understanding on the topic making claims about what they would or would do, without acknowledging the complete dearth of information that we have on how things actually work.

    So far, I have been rude, but honest. You have made unfounded claims about my beliefs and or values, backtracked on your first example, made poor correlative statements, and then came up with another terrible example.

    Would you like to have a redo? We can just start from the top, and I'll pretend like you didn't just ... do whatever it was this was.

  • What, in your opinion, is the best course of action? You know a woman who is pregnant and doesn’t want to be pregnant, and you know a couple that wants a child and has the proven safe ability and intention to change the future child’s appearance. You have the ability to influence one or the other, but not both. What is your ethical choice?
    Amplifying the original example; if the price for the ability to cure genetic diseases is arbitrary parental choice or qualified immunity for choice of appearance, then I would accept it despite my personal distaste for it. In the above-stated ethical choice, I would influence the pregnant woman who doesn’t want the child. I value that a child be wanted (by the pregnant woman) and exists (rather than being aborted) because it poses a greater threat to the individual than if their appearance was chosen arbitrarily.
    Whereas, your eugenics line is a red herring from the central argument, we’ll discard it as the poison fruit of the poison vine.
    Kindly expand on your beliefs separating embryos and children. Are you making an intentionality argument that would specifically protect the genes of those embryos that are intended to be born and become children with thoughts and opinions?
    Which limits of IQ are you speaking of? Are you saying "with wisdom comes sorrow", critiquing the limitations of IQ tests or the inexact definition of intelligence, tossing in the nurture argument, invoking the limits in our knowledge of the multitude of genes influencing intelligence, or...?

  • Lol what the fuck are you on about.
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