When achieved through gene manipulation. Just like video game

When someone purchases a new video game there is usually an option to customize a character the user chooses to play with. Game players have the option to choose what hair color, eye color, height, skin tone, or even gender they would like their character to be. With so many options on a gaming console, the user is bound to build the ‘perfect person.’ A character they find flawless. What if this concept of ‘building a perfect person’ was seen in real life? What if actual humans could chose what characteristics they want in themselves or their offspring? Well, it is possible and can be achieved through gene manipulation. Just like video game characters, scientists have made it possible for humans to alter their genetic makeup to achieve a desired state of being. Gene manipulation plays a crucial role in the world around us as well as in human lives. Genetically modified food is abundant in the world around us and even the cotton found in many clothes, but should gene modification be practiced on humans. Should gene manipulation be used on humans in order to change that individual and even their offspring. Gene manipulation should not be implemented in human germline modification for enhancement purposes because of risks like allowing for the objectification and social division of individuals, promoting a superficial society, the liability to harm rather than improve, and disrupting the laws of nature. Beginning with what  gene editing is exactly, it is defined as the direct manipulation of DNA to alter an organism’s characteristics in a particular way (“What Is Genetic Engineering?,” 2017). Gene editing comes in many forms such as agricultural modification, medicinal  improvement, and the most controversial germline modification. These alterations in the genes of an organism can change a being’s physical traits as well as genetic makeup. Today we mainly see genetically modified organisms when looking at the foods we eat such as corn, soy, tomato, and rice, but modification can also be made in humans proven in fairly recent tests and studies. In 1973 biotechnology researcher Herbert Boyer and geneticist Stanley Cohen, reported the construction of functional organisms that combined and replicated DNA from different species (GNN, n.d.). Their experiments demonstrated the potential impact of DNA recombinant engineering (GNN, n.d.). Since then in around 2005 is when human gene correction begun, and in 2011 genome editing with the use of TALENs started (Kim, 2016). TALENs are the essential component as for how gene editing can occur. TALENs are bacterial-like genes that cut out defective gene ‘snippets,’ and work with the body’s own cells as well as a copy of the right DNA provided by scientists to fix a broken gene. Shortly after a genetic engineering tool called Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats -also known as CRISPR- was brought into the limelight again in 2012 (Kim, 2016). CRISPR uses a sequence of DNA along with Cas9 – one of the enzymes produced by the CRISPR system – to edit the base pairs of a gene (“Questions and Answers about CRISPR,” 2017). With the help of CRISPR and other gene editing technologies, many diseases may be terminated in an individual and modifications can be made in the human genome. Although gene editing has been around for a short amount of time, it has still brought about tremendous potential for many things since the establishment. Even though the process harvests an abundance of potential in many areas, it should not be actively promoted or implemented in gene manipulations of the human germline. With changing the DNA sequencing found in human sperm and egg cells there are serious repercussions that follow. Repercussions such as allowing for the objectification of humans, promoting a superficial society, disrupting the laws of human nature, and liability to harm rather than improve are prevalent when discussing germline modification. One of the most prominent reasons against germline editing is that it allows for the objectification and social division of individuals. Openly engaging in and promoting germline manipulation conveys to society that changing oneself should be sought after in order to fit societal definitions of normal. Genetic pre-selection and germline engineering “encourages the construction of lives based upon contested, ideological assumptions about what is valuable” (Miah, 2005, p. 149). The further implementation of germline editing opens up notions for certain characteristics being viewed as better than others. Genome manipulation could also steer people into wanting to pursue unreasonable alterations or desires in their offspring. Many people may proceed with unreasonable alterations because they view it as an improvement that is absolutely necessary for their survival while in reality it is not. The superficial enhancements being made contribute to the depreciation and objectification of the human beings. With the procedure of editing the human germline possible, there is also no doubt that the cost to orchestrate the procedure is very expensive. With costs for just stem cells procedure ranging from $3,300-$19,000, there is a greater chance of germline modification pricings being set at even higher ranges due to the greater complexity involved for the procedure to be administered (“Genome Editing Services,” n.d.). This expensive price tag limits access to who can and can not access the procedure. Class division is further reinforced due to the limited access that comes f of the cost of editing. “Wealthy parents will be able to afford the genetic techniques; poorer parents will not. Children from wealthy families already have many social advantages and genetic engineering will add to them” (Skene, 2008, p. 90). This seemingly amazing opportunity could be the reason individuals are discriminated against for who they are and traits they can not control. Advancing in germline modification and implementing the procedure regularly could lead resurfacing of the shameful racial eugenics and even sex selection. Individuals with certain genes will be viewed as inferior to other with genes that are liked by society. Treating people like objects that can be manipulated is a slippery slope that can be touched, especially if the opportunity of ‘enhancement’ is present. The respect humans should have toward one another is owed regardless of their genetic makeup. Humans are supposed to be imperfect, eradicating certain genes present in certain individuals is like eradicating those individuals from the population. Another repercussion that arises from the implementation of human germline modification is the promotion of a superficial society. Allowing for the implementation and advocacy of human germline editing enables both scientists and individuals to venture into editing certain traits for personal fulfillment. Once scientists find a foolproof technique to edit genes that control particular characteristics, that will open up room for procedures to enhance individuals for superficial reasons. This in turn as mentioned before both objectifies and leads to some individuals being seen as “genetically superior to other people, …” (Jacobsen, 2017), but also encourages the idea of attaining certain characteristics for superficial reasons. Many people may feel as though the idea of ‘designing babies’ is a vision that may be practiced in the far future but it is closer than they think. Stanford bioengineer Drew Endy pointed out in an interview with author and journalist Rowan Jacobsen for his article “Designer Genes” that many parents take “advantage of a new technique called noninvasive prenatal testing that can sequence part of a fetus’ genome from fragments of fetal DNA circulating in the mother’s blood” (2017). Endy also said, that “It has become the standard of care at Palo Alto’s children’s hospital” (Jacobsen, 2017). Endy noted that since new tests allow parents to screen for individual genes, over time it could result in certain undesirable genes being eliminated from the gene pool, “That’s shaping the future of the human lineage” (Jacobsen, 2017). This linage shaping promotes and further implements the idea of perfect individuals present having to be present within a population. With a good portion of the population already heading in the direction of shaping their future lineage, what and who will determine certain traits as valuable over others. People who are viewed as flawed like those who have disabilities, minor or major diseases, or even characteristics not favored by society will be looked at to be edited first. The individuals with these ‘flaws’ are told that they are not normal and should alter their genetics in order to exist. Many children who would be products of germline manipulation also have no say in what traits and characteristics are being chosen for them. The idea of choosing the positive genetic characteristics of another person threatens to change the nature of that person’s relation-to-self in a way that undermines his or her potential (Skene, 2008, p. 87). Germline modification violates the rights of an individual who will come to be, as well as forcing a lifetime of identity conflicts on to them. Even though parents and individuals may feel that genetic makeup defines an individual, their logic is flawed. The emotions, experiences, and thoughts a person undergoes in life impact who they are as a person more than any subjective trait. Although parents and individuals may feel the complex DNA sequencing for height or greater intelligence defines their child’s abilities it does not. Most of the complex traits many people desire to achieve or edit, are based heavily on environmental factors the child experiences throughout their life. Another prominent reason as to why the use of gene editing should not be practiced in human germline modification is that it is not safe. Gene editing is not the easiest practice to implement especially in the DNA sequencing of human sex cells, but it can be done. With the well-known fact that the procedure as a whole is relatively new and quite complicated there, is bound to be uncertain and risky lines treaded upon. In writer Beth Baker’s  article “The Ethics of Changing the Human Genome” she mentioned Nobel Laureate David Baltimore of the California Institute of Technology, comment on human genome editing stating, that “As long as there’s a lot of uncertainty, it seems ethically problematic to proceed” (2016). The concept of editing the human genome is a topic most scientists are not one hundred percent familiar with and are hesitant on proceeding forward with. Once editing beings it is hard for any mistakes to be erased, as well as difficult to tell if other issues will arise because of the edit. The complexity of the human genome is very difficult to even proceed with seemingly simple edits that could cure disease scientists are familiar with. This is because much of the genes associated with human gametes are polygenic, meaning one trait is controlled by multiple genes. Common conditions like heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and schizophrenia are polygenic; even a gene controlling a seemingly simple trait such as height has at least 400 genes influencing it (Baker 2016). If one edit is finalized to better a flaw, it could potentially open up the door to fifty other problems arising. Inversely researchers have found that many “problem” genes they try to eliminate may actually have other benefits (Baker 2016). For example, founding director of the Broad Institute of Harvard University and MIT Eric Lander found that, “a gene that lowers an individual’s risk of getting HIV while if removed increases the risk of succumbing to the West Nile Virus. Similarly, a gene that lowers the risk of type-1 diabetes brings a higher risk of Crohn’s disease” (Baker 2016). Genome editing also has little-reported success rates. Some studies have proven successful in germline modification, but in the germline of animals rather than humans. Usually, these studies prove that the editing was successful, but only in the animals it was tested on not necessarily humans. This is mainly because the human genome has different complexities to take into consideration that when compared to animals like mice or chickens they are not present. For example, a report done on the repairing stem cells of patients suffering from retinitis pigmentosa showed that 13% of the defective gene copies could be completely replaced by the corrected copy (Banerjee, Das, and Dey, 2017). While if the same study were done on animals it could have a higher rate of success due to differing genetic function and structure. One of the many other repercussions that come with the promotion of germline modification in humans is disrupting the laws of human nature. It is no doubt that the changes undergone through the process of gene manipulation in the human germlines do not occur naturally in humans. Germline editing interferes with the human genetic process. With genes in the germline being edited, it presents as a threat to the universal balance and strict nature upheld by the genetics of human organisms. The human genome has been evolving itself for the past billions of years, if changes are made to alter it now, there can be serious adverse effects impacting future generations. Successfully altering the sperm or egg cells in one generation results in all offsprings and future generations having the same gene edit. These changes can result in one of many things like disturbing genetic variability, introducing new mutations in a population, or disrupting the expressions of other genes (Baker, 2016). These changes can prove to be disadvantageous in that it is unfavorable not only an individual’s genetic diversity, but human genetic diversity in the long run. When certain edits are made to code for the installation of a specific gene, it impairs the ability for natural diversity to take place. Many scientists who support the notion of manipulating gamete cells argue that ‘withholding the value of modification on the basis that it might lead to other things strikes as abdicating responsibility” (Baker, 2016). Meaning that many of these scientists feel it is their duty to fix what is ‘wrong’ or flawed in an individual. What these scientists are failing to realize is that many of the traits they want to edit are unknown in a sense. Working with something as sensitive as the sequencing of human DNA and liability to create greater problems, it should be their responsibility to not implement such practices. Instead, they should focus more on finding new medicines and promoting the acceptance and approval of individuals as they are. In conclusion, with all findings and research in place, gene manipulation in the human germline should not be implemented in large part. Gene manipulation should not be implemented in human germline modification for enhancement purposes because of risks like the liability to harm rather than improve, objectifying and creating social divides between individuals, promoting a superficial society, and disrupting the laws of nature. With all the repercussions and liabilities of the procedure and practice in place, it would be logical that gene editing in the human germline not be promoted. If germline modification is not implemented, then that prevents many ethical dilemmas and consequences from being forced onto individuals. Although many people and even scientist believe, that the genetic makeup of an individual defines them, they are failing to realize and recognize the other factors that make an individual themselves. Many other factors go into making an individual who they are, not just the specific DNA sequence for blue eyes or greater intelligence capabilities. Many individuals like Sir Isaac Newton, Stevie Wonder, Stephen Hawking, and Helen Keller are just a few examples of how an individual’s genetic ‘disadvantage’ does not stand in the way of success. Genes are not the only factor that shapes an individual. The thoughts, emotions, experiences, memories, environment, and many other factors an individual experiences help shape a person not just their DNA sequencing