The Onion on the pros and cons of gene editing

A while back I reviewed Doudna and Sternberg’s new book, A Crack in Creation, for the Washington Post (it’s a pretty good book), pointing out the revolution in gene therapy about to occur with the development of the CRISPR/Cas-9 system, which pretty much lets experimenters change DNA in any way they want, including editing out the mutations causing genetic disease to restore a “normal” gene. There are formidable problems with applying this to humans, but it’s been used successfully in other mammals and recently just successfully edited a disease gene in an early-stage human embryo.

That’s the science bit. Now The Onion gives us the pros and cons of this type of gene therapy. Feel free to add your own below:

Also, it could create the animal that my father used to joke about when I was a kid:

Dad: Jerry, what do you get when you cross a tiger with a parrot?
Jerry: I don’t know, Dad. What?
Dad: I don’t know either, but when it talks, you’d better listen!

I’ll be here all year, folks.

20 Comments

  1. Randy schenck
    Posted August 27, 2017 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Pro – Gene for religion is discovered and then destroyed for all future generations. Soon followed by a need for many more evolutionary biology instructors.

  2. busterggi
    Posted August 27, 2017 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Wouldn’t setting gene-editing on auto-correct prevent beneficial mutations?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Considering what autocorrect does to many comments on this site, that thought is too dreadful to contemplate.

      cr

  3. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted August 27, 2017 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Seems like “No way the Pope is going to go for this” ought to be in the Pro column.

  4. Bob Murray
    Posted August 27, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Dad jokes are definitely the best jokes.

  5. FB
    Posted August 27, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    CON: The theologians that will argue that you can’t edit your soul.

    • Derec Avery
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      CON: The theologians will argue that you _don’t_ have a soul.

      • Posted October 6, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        They are ignorant, then. Hell was created specifically for our souls.

  6. Posted August 27, 2017 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Pro: An accident will create a new kind of super hero with super strength.

    Con: The accident did not also create super strong bones. It will require several weeks in the ICU.

  7. BJ
    Posted August 27, 2017 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Super-disease injected into giant hornets is exactly what I was thinking. This is all a terrible idea.

    Great idea for the hornets, though.

  8. Posted August 27, 2017 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Pro: Scientists invent giant, super-intelligent spiders.

    Con: Not everyone thinks that giant super-intelligent spiders are a good idea.

    • BJ
      Posted August 27, 2017 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      I already hate small, unintelligent spiders. Don’t trust ’em, never have.

      You bring giant, super-intelligent spiders into the mix and I’m starting a god damn revolution against them and anyone who dares support them. An arachnophobe can only be pushed so far!

      And the following situation is NOT an acceptable compromise:

  9. Steve Pollard
    Posted August 27, 2017 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Pro: your kids could end up smarter than you.

    Con: your kids could end up smarter than you.

  10. John Snyders
    Posted August 27, 2017 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    Pro: millions of lives saved and reduced suffering
    Con: comedy gene accidentally removed

  11. Tim Milburn
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 4:27 am | Permalink

    Con: Planned Parenthood uses it to change our children into gay marxist islamic satanist hipsters.

    • Pali
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 5:23 am | Permalink

      Wait, I thought that was a pro… I’m so confused!

  12. Tim Milburn
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    On second thoughts maybe it should be a pro. My sticking point was hipsters.

  13. Virgil Reese
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    When I was a kid the joke was about a cross between a loin and a parrot. The punchline was “I don’t know what it’s called but it likes to say ‘Polly wanna zebra'”

    • Virgil Reese
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      That’s lion not loin

  14. Getachew Boru
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Gene editing in human,(CRISPR)should be used to correct defective gene to combat diseases and other abnormalities, but not to create superman or cosmetic attributes, and play GOD.


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