Eugenics and Technology
BRAVE NEW WORLD By Aldous Huxley
Obviously, no use at all. But Podsnap’s Technique had immensely accelerated the process of ripening. They could make sure of at least a hundred and fifty mature eggs within two years. Fertilize and bokanovskifyin other words, multiply by seventy-twoand you get an average of nearly eleven thousand brothers and sisters in a hundred and fifty batches of identical twins, all within two years of the same age.
“And in exceptional cases we can make one ovary yield us over fifteen thousand adult individuals.”For of course,” said Mr. Foster, “in the vast majority of cases, fertility is merely a nuisance. One fertile ovary in twelve hundredthat would really be quite sufficient for our purposes. But we want to have a good choice. And of course one must always have an enormous margin of safety. So we allow as many as thirty per cent of the female embryos to develop normally. The others get a dose of male sex-hormone every twenty-four metres for the rest of the course. Result: they’re decanted as freemartinsstructurally quite normal (except,” he had to admit, “that they do have the slightest tendency to grow beards), but sterile. Guaranteed sterile. Which brings us at last,” continued Mr. Foster, “out of the realm of mere slavish imitation of nature into the much more interesting world of human invention.”
“We also predestine and condition. We decant our babies as socialized human beings, as Alphas or Epsilons, as future sewage workers or future ” He was going to say “future World controllers,” but correcting himself, said “future Directors of Hatcheries,” instead.
if they could discover a technique for shortening the period of maturation what a triumph, what a benefaction to Society!
Eugenics was the racist pseudoscience determined to wipe away all human beings deemed “unfit,” preserving only those who conformed to a Nordic stereotype. Elements of the philosophy were enshrined as national policy by forced sterilization and segregation laws, as well as marriage restrictions, enacted in twenty-seven states.
Eugenics was born as a scientific curiosity in the Victorian age. In 1863, Sir Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, theorized that if talented people only married other talented people, the result would be measurably better offspring
The superior species the eugenics movement sought was populated not merely by tall, strong, talented people. Eugenicists craved blond, blue-eyed Nordic types. This group alone, they believed, was fit to inherit the earth. In the process, the movement intended to subtract emancipated Negroes, immigrant Asian laborers, Indians, Hispanics, East Europeans, Jews, dark-haired hill folk, poor people, the infirm and really anyone classified outside the gentrified genetic lines drawn up by American raceologists.How? By identifying so-called “defective” family trees and subjecting them to lifelong segregation and sterilization programs to kill their bloodlines. The grand plan was to literally wipe away the reproductive capability of those deemed weak and inferior–the so-called “unfit.” The eugenicists hoped to neutralize the viability of 10 percent of the population at a sweep, until none were left except themselves.
Function and Origin of the Crispr/Cas9 System e CRISPR/Cas9 system exists in nature as a prokaryotic immune system that confers resistance to foreign genetic elements such as plasmids and bacterial viruses [1,2]. CRISPR refers to clustered regularly-interspaced short palindromic repeats consisting in short repetitions of DNA sequences followed by short segments of spacer DNA originated as result of exposition to a bacterial virus or plasmid. ecas (CRISPR-associated) genes code for nuclease or helicase proteins associated to CRISPR repeats with the function of cutting or unwind DNA . CRISPR system functions storing DNA sequences from invaded viruses or plasmid and when the same type of virus invades again, the system recognizes it using the transcribed RNA sequences and directs a cas nuclease to cut the DNA. Cas9 was isolated from bacterium Streptococus pyogenes and is a nuclease able to cut DNA in two active cutting sites at each strand of the double helix of the DNA. Doudna and Charpentier discover that bacteria respond to invading phages by transcribing spacers and palindromic DNA into a long RNA molecule which is cut into pieces (called crRNAs) by using trans-activating RNA (tracrRNA) and protein Cas9 . Later it was discover that the combination of tracrRNA and spacer RNA into a single guideRNA mixed with Cas9 could be programmed to find and cut specific target DNA segments, thus provided with the ability of gene editing
e CRISPR/Cas9 system has many potential applications due to its ability to cut the DNA of any genome at any desired location by introducing the cas9 protein and appropriate guide DNA into a cell [7,8]. e system has the ability for genome editing and gene regulation in many types of organisms facilitating the function elucidation of target genes in biology and diseases. (cient genome editing has been demonstrated in multiple organisms, including bacteria, plants, insects, fish, reptiles, birds and mammals [9-12]. Feng Zhang in 2013 achieved for the first time the genome editing intervention of human cells by engineering a novel version of CRISPR/ Cas9 . CRISPR/Cas9 system can be engineered for many desired functions . e system can introduce DNA in the germline of any organism, and modify somatic genes by genomic editing. CRISPR/Cas9 has been modified to program specific transcription factors to target and activate or silence specific genes . A CRISPR interference platform has been developed for gene silencing, regulating gene expression by binding to the non-template DNA strand of the coding region blocking the transcription elongation process . CRISPR/Cas9 can also inactivate genes inhibiting their transcription by methylation of targeted DNA . CRISPR/Cas9 can be used to create animal models for research to mimic diseases or study development by mutating or silencing genes. For example, a mouse model have been developed to test the deleterious eects of mutations in cancer by introducing loss of
function mutations in tumor suppressor genes or gaining of function in proto-oncogenes . e animals can be created at the germline level, changing DNA at specific targeted level or anywhere in the genome . Cellular models of human diseases have been created using CRISPR/Cas9 . CRISPR/Cas9 has been also used eciently to induce genomic alterations in plants improving crop quality or introducing disease resistance [19-23].
Ethical Issues Balance of risks and EHQHtsAn important ethical issue in research is that benefits must be greater than risks. Greater attention must be place on risks, since they may damage living beings or the environment. e application of CRISPR/Cas9 technique involves risks since it may produce o target mutations, which can be deleterious. A high frequency of o target eects has been found in human cells, but low in mice and zebrafish [32,33]. One problem is that large genomes may contain multiple DNA sequences identical or highly homologous to intended target DNA sequence. CRISPR/Cas9 may cleave also these unintended sequences causing mutations which may cause cell death or transformation [34,35]. (orts have been made to reduce o target mutations, but further improvement is needed, especially for precise modifications needed for therapeutic interventions [10,12,36]. Another important problem is the ecient safe delivery of CRISPR-Cas9 into cell types or tissues that are hard to transfect and/or infect.
How could the use of this technology encourage a new eugenics movement? What can be done to ensure that this movement never gains any traction?
Please use the articles above to answer this question
Regenerative Medicine and Artificial Intelligence: Influence on Health Care
In the Week 11 folder, read the two articles AI vs. MD and Quest to Live Forever. Then, read the two ethics articles regarding regenerative medicine and biotechnology. Think about what you have read before responding to the following questions.
Explain the terms regenerative medicine and artificial intelligence.
Discuss the ethical implications of biotechnology and regenerative medicine. Describe how artificial intelligence can contribute to the quest to live forever.
Imagine what the future of health care might look like when humans have fully harnessed the powers of biotechnology, regenerative medicine, and artificial intelligence. Describe a scenario. Talk to your peers and be creative!
How can one prepare for such scenarios if they become real? How might such scenarios make us rethink ethics?
Student are Expected to use the above site to answers this question
Assisted Death: Rights, Obligations, and Conscientious Objection
In Chapter 4, Professional Ethics, read the following two articles:
The Nature and Limits of Professional Autonomy and Professional Responsibility
– Patient and Physician Autonomy: Conflicting Rights and Obligations in the Physician-Patient Relationship, Edmund D. Pellegrino
Why Medical Professionals Have No Moral Claim to Conscientious Objection Accommodation in Liberal Democracies, Udo Schuklenk and Ricardo Smalling
Define the following terms: liberal democracy, professional autonomy, professional responsibility, conscientious objection.
Summarize what the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states about freedom of conscience and religion. In the Supreme Court of Canada decision about assisted death, which part of the Charter was used to justify assisted death as a right?
What approach does Pellegrino take in his exploration of the moral conflicts that exist between patients and physicians regarding autonomy? What approach do Schuklenk and Smalling take in their exploration of the moral conflicts that exist between patients and physicians regarding autonomy?
As one who delivers health care, what recommendations would you make to find the middle ground where rights and obligations are in conflict?
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