Should a person be able to change the structure of their genes just because it is medically possible? Gene therapy is often looked at as a tool to cure genetic diseases and defects, and rightly so, but could anyone benefit from gene therapy? A decision to manipulate one’s own genes doesn’t just have an effect on that person’s life. It will also affect the lives of their children, grandchildren, and other close family relatives. That’s why evaluating all of the pros and cons of gene therapy before proceeding is so very important.
What Are the Pros of Gene Therapy?
1. It can wipe out genetic disease.
Gene therapy can eliminate a genetic disease before it can begin wrecking havoc on a person’s body. The fact of the matter is that 100% of humans are carrying some defective genes. By fixing those broken genes through therapies, virtually all hereditary diseases could be eliminated.
2. It could prolong human life.
The nature of DNA is that it begins to degrade over time. Through gene therapy, the degrading experience could happen over a prolonged period of time instead of the 60-90 years that most humans currently get to experience on the planet. Life spans could make an average lifespan of 100 entirely possible.
3. It would change how people see themselves.
Many people are in a pursuit of “the truth.” Gene therapy would be an ultimate truth that would change how people see their place in this world. Instead of blaming a supernatural being or “fate” for life’s circumstances, they could seek medical help to change those circumstances.
What Are the Cons of Gene Therapy?
1. It will always have some sort of risk involved.
Under current circumstances, the risks are all related to the fact that gene therapy is still in its developmental stages. Even when it becomes a viable medical practice, there will undoubtedly be unforeseen consequences to gene therapy. Just one miscalculation in a therapy regimen could result in new diseases forming.
2. It would eliminate the concept of privacy.
Once gene therapy becomes a tool, health insurance companies could require genetic profiles before granting a policy. Employers could hire specific people with genetic profiles for jobs. In effect, a person’s genetic profile would create a point of discrimination that doesn’t currently exist.
3. It could be used for non-beneficial purposes.
Once gene therapy becomes an advanced, proven science, it is entirely possible that people could use therapies to enhance their physical appearance without a disease or defect present. Any genetically linked traits could be modified or enhanced.
Gene therapy is a promising new field in medical science that could potentially eliminate some of the most deadly diseases that humanity is seeing today. By evaluating all of the pros and cons of the subject now, we can prepare societies for this new type of medicine so that instances of it being abused can be kept to a minimum.