Speech Notes

 

Citations for pictures used:

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Fast Company. (n.d.). Retrieved June 16, 2016, from http://a.fastcompany.net/multisite_files/fastcompany/imagecache/1280/poster/2013/10/3019370-poster-1280-dna.jpg
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  1. Good job Andreas! I really like how you took so many factors into consideration, such as the ethical issues that could arise. Good use of visuals! The video was also really helpful. This new technology is definitely exciting to look into for the future because we can possibly cure many diseases and improve human beings. One question I have is, why do we have to change 180 genes for humans when it’s much simpler for other animals?

    • Hi Brian,

      I came upon the same question during my research as well, I’m not entirely sure on the exact reason; however I can leave you a link to a helpful video which I used. I also have a couple of theories that I believe could be true:

      1. Human muscular systems are a lot more complicated than other organisms (specifically mice in this example) so, more muscles would need to be changed, on a larger scale. Also, there may be a bigger variety of muscle types in the human muscular system and a single gene affects each muscle type.

      2. Human systems are closely interlinked so, multiple systems would have to be changed to allow for one to be changed.

      3. As our brains are significantly more complicated than other organisms, perhaps that is where most of the changes would have to be made. For example, maybe a certain section of the brain controls your movement or muscles. This section would be significantly bigger and more complex than in a mouse.

      Hope this answers your question! Sorry for not having the exact science behind it.

      Useful Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-48RVaqZck

  2. Great video Andreas. I just have one question. What is your stand on the legal issue of genetic engineering on human and why?

    • Genetic Engineering in humans is a very controversial subject and everyone has their own opinion on it. Personally, I believe that the biggest barrier preventing human testing, at the moment, is safety. I think that if human testing is deemed safe then genetic engineering should be legal; however, like any complicated medical procedure, it would have to be regulated by governments or large third parties.

      As for the cost, I think that all genetic engineering that is medical i.e. genetic diseases, should be free; however, the process of enhancing humans is a tougher one. I don’t think it should be public until technology has advanced enough for it to be free as a choice, and one hundred percent safe. If we can genetically engineer better humans, everyone should be able to access that technology, not a specific few with a lot of money.

  3. Hi Andreas, that was a very insightful ted talk about genetic engineering! I really liked how you went in-depth on the different ways it has been used so far. Since this is a very controversial topic among many people it is interesting to see your take on it. From some of the questions you have answered so far, I see that you think that testing on humans should be legal only if it 100% safe, but how would you decide if it is safe without testing it on humans, as animals might have a different reaction?

    • You bring up a good point. As I see it, after we have finished testing on animals, the next subject would be people with genetic diseases. I would only perform tests if they volunteered themselves. Because these subjects already have a crippling disease, they would be more likely to accept the risks. This way, we could capture data on humans so that we could move forward to testing on healthy human beings. I hope I answered your question and thanks for the comment!

  4. Interesting topic, it was cool how much you contrasted the pros of doing this to the cons. You mentioned that you would enjoy these benefits personally but do you think it would be beneficial to mankind, also I assume it would be a thing only for the high class, am I correct to assume that?

    • I think that this technology could be highly beneficial to mankind. The world is changing, mostly because of things that we’ve done to screw it up i.e. climate change. The way I see it, we could maybe use this technology to artificially adapt humans to changing conditions. We could make them more resilient to heat, or use less water. Also, as I touched on in the video, Crispr is already being used to benefit humans in the form of banana’s that can carry the vaccine to Hepatitis B.

      The problem of cost is the biggest, in my mind, surrounding this technology and I’m not quite sure how to deal with it. Obviously, if a genetic procedure is needed to cure a disease it should be available to the public, but if it is purely for personal gain? It seems unfair to only allow the rich to use this procedure. Ideally, there should be a public availability of the technology and a limit of modifications per person.

      Thanks for your comment! I hope I answered your questions.

  5. Nice, Andreas! I enjoyed learning about Crispr/Cas9, and how you included both ethical sides in this discussion.
    However, are there more details to your opinion? Obviously, genetic engineering would start out small (like the bananas you mentioned), but do you think that eventually it could warp into something that the privileged use for personal gain?
    Otherwise, I really enjoyed your Talk, and it was fascinating learning about the possibilities of the technology here today.

    • Thanks for you comment and your kind words, I appreciate it a lot. As for your question, yes, if not properly regulated, this technology could develop into a “rich-only” procedure. This could become a huge problem if the rich start being able to create humans that are 30% smarter than the rest of us. There would be a huge chasm in society and the different levels of society would start to become significantly more obvious and distinguished. I hope that this doesn’t happen, and with proper regulation, it won’t. I’m not sure of an exact solution to this but one would definitely need to be executed before this technology is released to consumers.

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