T Nation

Chinese Scientists Genetically Modify Human Embryos


#1

No, not late April Fools. Yes, for real. The scientific journal Nature is about as elite and solid a science source as you can possibly get. Not a joke--Nobel prize winners still dream about publishing papers in Nature. They report:

http://www.nature.com/news/chinese-scientists-genetically-modify-human-embryos-1.17378

Let's talk about the monumental move that just occurred. What happens now?


#2

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
No, not late April Fools. Yes, for real. The scientific journal Nature is about as elite and solid a science source as you can possibly get. Not a joke–Nobel prize winners still dream about publishing papers in Nature. They report:

Let’s talk about the monumental move that just occurred. What happens now? [/quote]

Perhaps they’ll cure some diseases.


#3

None of the embryos survived because scientists are still stupid enough to think they understand how and why Nature actually works.

With embryonic stem cells, NOTHING will ever be cured, ever. Embryonic stem cells have yet to clock a single persons life. Adult stem cells have cured an untold number of people.


#4

Sounds like they are a really long way off from doing anything productive. However, what’s the difference between curing/controlling a disease with medication or removing/modifying the genes that cause it before birth? That seems like a good thing.

Since it’s the Chinese, they’ll probably focus on breeding a batch of terminally pre-pubescent girls who will compete in Olympic gymnastics into their 30’s.


#5

[quote]Varqanir wrote:

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
No, not late April Fools. Yes, for real. The scientific journal Nature is about as elite and solid a science source as you can possibly get. Not a joke–Nobel prize winners still dream about publishing papers in Nature. They report:

Let’s talk about the monumental move that just occurred. What happens now? [/quote]

Perhaps they’ll cure some diseases.
[/quote]

Perhaps. But if the pharmaceutical industry makes more money selling their side-effect laden drugs it will take a long time to see the light of day.


#6

[quote]Zeppelin795 wrote:
Perhaps. But if the pharmaceutical industry makes more money selling their side-effect laden drugs it will take a long time to see the light of day.
[/quote]

Lol


#7

[quote]kneedragger79 wrote:
None of the embryos survived because scientists are still stupid enough to think they understand how and why Nature actually works.

With embryonic stem cells, NOTHING will ever be cured, ever. Embryonic stem cells have yet to clock a single persons life. Adult stem cells have cured an untold number of people.

[/quote]

Kneedragger, this is my thread. Kindly stick with science and rational philosophy instead of wild hyperbole. Not to mention calling scientists that do this for a living as I do “stupid” when you have NO scientific training, NO scientific paper authorships, NO grad school in biochemistry, genetics, physics, chemistry, or biotech. If you can no none of the above kindly GTFO of this thread.

You don’t need to be a scientist to be in on this thread–if that were the case then almost nobody would respond and I would like a good discussion of the impending ethical dilemmas and other interesting things. So by all means please respond. Criticize away. I have serious issues with this.

But respond rationally and forego insulting the people who practice my chosen profession when you know sweet mother fuck-all about it. You are not qualified to call them stupid.

And if you’re going to say that adult stem cells have “cured an untold number of people” I expect some serious sourcing going on, because that’s patently false if you know anything about the entire field of stem cell research.

And the embryos died because they were completely unable to be born with or without the genetic meddling. Implant them in a womb, they’ll still die. Because they had a lethal error. That’s why they are called “nonviable” embryos in the first place. Nothing could have made them live babies. That is why the authors state that they tried to head off part of the ethical outrage by picking them for the experiment–they would not be killing potential live babies because the embryos were INCAPABLE of developing that far.


#8

[quote]dcb wrote:
Sounds like they are a really long way off from doing anything productive. However, what’s the difference between curing/controlling a disease with medication or removing/modifying the genes that cause it before birth? That seems like a good thing.

Since it’s the Chinese, they’ll probably focus on breeding a batch of terminally pre-pubescent girls who will compete in Olympic gymnastics into their 30’s. [/quote]

Lol.

I can’t say I’d be surprised…

On a serious note, controlling a disease with medication is not actually curing a disease. It is, as you suggest, controlling/halting the progress and minimizing or eradicating symptoms to allow a person to live comfortably.

But you do not actually cure the disease. They still have it. And they still have the genes that code for that diseased state. In other words, if you stop giving them the drug, the disease will reassert itself and/or kill them. Diabetics live mostly comfortably because of administering the drug insulin, but they still have the disease.

If you can give them a drug that re-writes or edits those responsible genes (ala gene therapy), then you can cure the disease. Or if you can kill the diseased cells (as in cancer therapy), then the person no longer has the disease and you have cured them, but the problematic genes that gave them a propensity toward contracting cancer again are still present and active, so they can get it again. Cancer is actually a bad analogy for this one because it has so many different factors that play into it, but in the sense you can kill the diseased cells while the patient still maintains a genetic predisposition towards that certain cancer type, the analogy works decently.

If you are able to edit the genes before birth however, then the “healthy” version of the genes is theoretically passed down to every cell line as the zygote develops, thus permanently curing the person so they never need medication for that particular disease (cystic fibrosis comes to mind, since it kills people and medication can at best slow it down).

Obviously however, the ethics of doing this…man where do you start? This IS eugenics on the molecular level. Not to mention mass unintended consequences potential.


#9

[quote]Varqanir wrote:

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
No, not late April Fools. Yes, for real. The scientific journal Nature is about as elite and solid a science source as you can possibly get. Not a joke–Nobel prize winners still dream about publishing papers in Nature. They report:

Let’s talk about the monumental move that just occurred. What happens now? [/quote]

Perhaps they’ll cure some diseases.
[/quote]

You have no qualms about the ethics involved with experimenting on human embryos? Or editing them even assuming the success rate is 100%?

That would surprise me.


#10

[quote]Aragorn wrote:

[quote]Varqanir wrote:

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
No, not late April Fools. Yes, for real. The scientific journal Nature is about as elite and solid a science source as you can possibly get. Not a joke–Nobel prize winners still dream about publishing papers in Nature. They report:

Let’s talk about the monumental move that just occurred. What happens now? [/quote]

Perhaps they’ll cure some diseases.
[/quote]

You have no qualms about the ethics involved with experimenting on human embryos? Or editing them even assuming the success rate is 100%?

That would surprise me.[/quote]

Why not? Just another commodity. It’ll open up a whole 'nother design position. An individual hired to design your child’s looks, talents, and proclivities.

Obviously this’ll pretty much be a big ticket item for the wealthier amongst us. At least for a good long while. Now, that could change sooner rather than later with entitlement program changes so as to subsidize the ability of the lower income individual to put their child-product together as they see fit. Otherwise, you’re going to have two completely separate worlds. Think an increasing income gap is an issue (which would just be exacerbated with high-priced designer babies), wait until looks, intelligence, health, and athleticism (all at once) is selected for by those with means.

Designer genes. Get it? Because designer jeans, but this des…Yeah, not that funny.


#11

[quote]Sloth wrote:

[quote]Aragorn wrote:

[quote]Varqanir wrote:

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
No, not late April Fools. Yes, for real. The scientific journal Nature is about as elite and solid a science source as you can possibly get. Not a joke–Nobel prize winners still dream about publishing papers in Nature. They report:

Let’s talk about the monumental move that just occurred. What happens now? [/quote]

Perhaps they’ll cure some diseases.
[/quote]

You have no qualms about the ethics involved with experimenting on human embryos? Or editing them even assuming the success rate is 100%?

That would surprise me.[/quote]

Why not? Just another commodity. It’ll open up a whole 'nother design position. An individual hired to design your child’s looks, talents, and proclivities.

Obviously this’ll pretty much be a big ticket item for the wealthier amongst us. At least for a good long while. Now, that could change sooner rather than later with entitlement program changes so as to subsidize the ability of the lower income individual to put their child-product together as they see fit. Otherwise, you’re going to have two completely separate worlds. Think an increasing income gap is an issue (which would just be exacerbated with high-priced designer babies), wait until looks, intelligence, health, and athleticism (all at once) is selected for by those with means.

Designer genes. Get it? Because designer jeans, but this des…Yeah, not that funny.
[/quote]

Not particularly funny at all. And very dangerous. This discussion is coming at us faster than we want to think about. What are your thoughts on the matter?


#12

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
What are your thoughts on the matter?[/quote]

We already have 1984, why not go full Huxley too?

Fuck it.


#13

It is a harbinger of the leaps and bounds to come in human evolution. Technological advances will upsurp natural selection in favor of artificial selection. A process that takes millions upon millions of years will be reduced to decades. Technology won’t just alter genes, but will be incorporated into the biological systems of the human body. Cybernetic Homo sapiens are the future. Do the ends justify the means? That is to be seen. Note that I’m not taking a normative postion.


#14

[quote]Bismark wrote:
It is the harbinger of the leaps and bounds to come in human evolution. Technological advances will upsurp natural selection in favor of artificial selection. A process that takes millions upon millions of years will be reduced to decades. [/quote]

Central Planning works so well in an economy, just look at how well communists do.

How could it turn out bad speaking of genetics?


#15

[quote]Aragorn wrote:

[quote]Sloth wrote:

[quote]Aragorn wrote:

[quote]Varqanir wrote:

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
No, not late April Fools. Yes, for real. The scientific journal Nature is about as elite and solid a science source as you can possibly get. Not a joke–Nobel prize winners still dream about publishing papers in Nature. They report:

Let’s talk about the monumental move that just occurred. What happens now? [/quote]

Perhaps they’ll cure some diseases.
[/quote]

You have no qualms about the ethics involved with experimenting on human embryos? Or editing them even assuming the success rate is 100%?

That would surprise me.[/quote]

Why not? Just another commodity. It’ll open up a whole 'nother design position. An individual hired to design your child’s looks, talents, and proclivities.

Obviously this’ll pretty much be a big ticket item for the wealthier amongst us. At least for a good long while. Now, that could change sooner rather than later with entitlement program changes so as to subsidize the ability of the lower income individual to put their child-product together as they see fit. Otherwise, you’re going to have two completely separate worlds. Think an increasing income gap is an issue (which would just be exacerbated with high-priced designer babies), wait until looks, intelligence, health, and athleticism (all at once) is selected for by those with means.

Designer genes. Get it? Because designer jeans, but this des…Yeah, not that funny.
[/quote]

Not particularly funny at all. And very dangerous. This discussion is coming at us faster than we want to think about. What are your thoughts on the matter?[/quote]

Those were my thoughts. We can either create two very different groups of people, or subsidize the ascendance of everyone into beautiful scholar-athletes. I figure the latter. The first wouldn’t last too long without the un-evolved masses storming gated communities around the nation. I mean, being left behind as the elite become permanent, super-elites? Nah.

Unless it’s some new super weapon we’re talking about then “slowing the progress of science” for a “subjective moral opinion” isn’t all that popular. I wouldn’t wager on it.

Science will finally give us the master-race.


#16

[quote]Bismark wrote:
Cybernetic Homo sapiens are the future. [/quote]

The future of what? The future slave of AI so advanced that we’re less than ants relative to their own intelligence? I mean how much consideration do you give to the well-being of an ant?


#17

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
What are your thoughts on the matter?[/quote]

We already have 1984, why not go full Huxley too?

Fuck it. [/quote]

Haha! Hahaha…haha…awwww. I made myself sad.


#18

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

[quote]Bismark wrote:
It is the harbinger of the leaps and bounds to come in human evolution. Technological advances will upsurp natural selection in favor of artificial selection. A process that takes millions upon millions of years will be reduced to decades. [/quote]

Central Planning works so well in an economy, just look at how well communists do.

How could it turn out bad speaking of genetics?

[/quote]

Where in my post did I advocate centrally planned genetic augmentation? Certainly not in the last sentence. You reached that erroneous conclusion of your own accord. Put down the torch, witchhunter.


#19

[quote]Sloth wrote:

[quote]Bismark wrote:
Cybernetic Homo sapiens are the future. [/quote]

The future of what? The future slave of AI so advanced that we’re less than ants relative to their own intelligence? I mean how much consideration do you give to the well-being of an ant?[/quote]

My post predicted the synthesis of man and machine, and I explicitly withheld normative judgement.


#20

Ah, but Bismark, my friend, you forget that this is PWI, wherein if one states a fact or references another speaker stating a fact, without making a clear moral pronouncement against the statement in the same sentence, it is assumed by all that one shares the position of the speaker, and/or supports the implications of the statement.

I will give you an example.

“After taking control of the government of Afghanistan, the Taliban eradicated opium production.”

This is a wildly irresponsible thing to say on PWI, as it will rightly be interpreted as a tacit endorsement of the Taliban, and of radical Islamicist terrorist organizations throughout the world.

Better to say, “After brutally and illegitimately taking control of the government of Afghanistan, the Taliban, an evil, America-hating mob of towel-headed camel fuckers, eradicated opium production, but they also did a bunch of bad stuff too.”

That is a statement that meets PWI standards for fairness and objectivity.

Carry on.