Written by: Timothy Sonniah
Recently, an article in the New York Times on genetic engineering. The item “In Breakthrough, Scientists Edit a Dangerous Mutation From Genes in Human Embryos,” could be one of the most significant breakthroughs in genetic engineering. In the article, several specialists reencounter the different activities which took place during the study. In the history of the world, it is the first time that scientists have successfully edited the genetic composition of the human gene (Times, 2017).
Such an achievement will be beneficial not only to the field of gene engineering globally but also to different people worldwide because it will be possible to edit the genetic composition of embryos and remove genetic materials associated with certain diseases that could be fatal.
Several families cannot have children of their own due to their children’s fear of inheriting certain hereditary health conditions. Celiac disease, for instance, is one of the significant health conditions that are hereditary and is often passed down to children by parents. Several fertility clinics have had visits from parents who wish to terminate their pregnancies due to their child’s fear of inheriting complicated health conditions.
With such a breakthrough, parents can now have children without the doubt that they will inherit certain health conditions. Even though the project is not for testing on human subjects, it shows many promises, which means in the future, one would have the ability to have their ideal child by having their genetic composition edited and having all unwanted traits removed.
DNA replication is a biological process whereby the body produces replicas of an original DNA. The replication process plays a significant role in the process of inheritance as the child cells are composed of replicas of the parent DNA (Clark, Douglas, and Jung, 2018). Without the process of replication, all new cells produced would eventually wear out, disintegrate, and die.
In new organisms, growth is essential, and for this growth to take place, cell division must occur; during the process of cell division, which occurs in either meiosis or mitosis, the parent DNA replicates into a daughter DNA, which precisely a copy of itself (Bleichert, Botchan, & Berger, 2017). If the parent DNA is composed of a strand that carries a trait associated with one of the fatal diseases, it passes to the child.
The article borrows a lot from chapter 14 as the chapter gives a discussion on gene replication and its significances. From the chapter, we learn that the child DNA copies every component of the parent DNA during DNA replication, which means that diseases copy in the process. The parent’s gene and removing all unwanted traits would mean that the child replica gene would be without undesirable characteristics from the above editing.
This article is quite a piece for me, and it brings all things I thought of as not being possible to live. With such groundbreaking projects in the future, we do not have to worry about finding the cure for these killer diseases, which in most cases, are incurable; instead, we will direct the funds on further studies on genetic editing. The article provides vital information, which suggests that there is a high possibility that people in the future will be able to determine the height of their children, their skin tone, and even their levels of intelligence before their birth.
Bleichert, F., Botchan, M. R., & Berger, J. M. (2017). Mechanisms for initiating cellular DNA replication. Science, 355(6327).
Mary Ann Clark, Matthew Douglas, and Jung Choi. (2018). In Biology 2e (pp. https://openstax.org/books/biology-2e/pages/14-chapter-summary). Houston, Texas: OpenStax. Retrieved from https://openstax.org/books/biology-2e/pages/1-introduction
Times, N. Y. (2017). Gene Editing. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/02/science/gene-editing-human-embryos.html.