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A year after a scientist edited the genes of an embryo to reduce the chances of HIV, another wants to do the same to ensure a baby isn’t born deaf. Thoughts?
Back in 2018, Chinese scientist He Jiankui made international headlines when he edited the DNA of a baby, thereby ensuring it didn’t inherit its father’s HIV. According to (disputed) research, the team managed to edit the solitary gene that makes individuals susceptible to smallpox, cholera and HIV. From that embryo, twins were born, who are very much alive.
One year later and the genetically-altered baby question has become rather more complex, as one Russian biologist wants to use the same methodology to eliminate deafness in the youth of tomorrow.
Many have argued that deafness should be embraced, not eliminated. The case can be made that those who do not have the ability to hear often live full, healthy lives; and other scientists believe that the editing of genes should solely be restricted to those embryos or infants facing the direst of situations. The University of Oxford’s Julian Savulescu stated that we, “…should not be starting with an embryo which stands to lead a pretty normal life.”
But with all that being said, what do you think? Yay or nay?