Altering genes

Michel Bordeleau michelbo at
Fri Jun 10 08:37:48 EST 1994

>>With the ability through genetic engineering to alter genes that show a
>>person will have a disability or illness, should we alter them?  That is,
>>because we have the ability to do so, should we use this ability?
>    Basically, I support using genetic therapy to cure "incurable"
>diseases provided we are ready to deal with the increased population.
>I support prenatal treatment of diseases like Downs Syndrome (If the
>parents so wish), and predispositions to diseases like cancer.
>I ONLY support these treatments provided they are available to the
>general populace (Within reason), and not just the rich.

   Another question which we should ask is wether or not to try to eliminate
some of these genetic diseases althogether, not just curing people who are
born with it.  I have read that it may be possible to alter the genes in the
parents' germ line so that the offspring do not get the disease.  This way
instead of waiting to see if the offspring(s) have the disease, we totally
remove the chance of it in the current generation, and thus in future
generations as well.

   The problem with this is that if we do this, we may be dooming ourselves as
we don't really know what other functions such genes may have, such as malaria
resistence in the case of sickle-cell anemia.

   So, should we deal with these diseases on an individual basis or try to
eliminate them now and forever?


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