If you crossed your arms right now, you’ll realize there is a natural tendency to have either the right or left palm on top of your biceps. Doing it the other way will make you feel uncomfortable.
If you crossed your legs right now, you’ll notice an instinctive action towards either the left or right leg being lifted over the other naturally. It would feel odd if you tried it the other way.
Anyway, that’s not the point of this post.
Sometimes I’ll write clean content. There won’t be mistakes. All my words will be spelt correctly, my punctuation will be fine. Other times I’ll have typos. I’ll edit those I can find as soon as I see them. I will replace some words, delete others and cross check some for spelling mistakes.
There’ll be times I’ll post with a bunch of errors tugging at the legs of my sentences. I won’t notice those until a reader points them out.
If they are embarrassing typos, I’ll usually fix them as soon as I can. If they are minor, I will leave them swinging all over the page. That’s because I don’t usually like to read my work after posting it.
And just like how words that appear on this page can be edited and altered, so can the genetic material (Deoxyribonucleic acid, DNA) of living organisms including humans. This is through the process of genome editing.
Using a tool called CRISPR/Cas9 (which in my view should never be made available to every John, Ben and Maria), genes can be deleted, replaced, manipulated or moved. The field of biotechnology has opened the possibilities of what could potentially be if humans tinkered with the building blocks of life, DNA. We don’t know enough to go there.
This technology can be applied in areas such as therapy and enhancement. If used to treat diseases like hemophilia, HIV, cancer or any other genetic ailment, maybe it will ethically make sense. But if people want to use this technology to enhance themselves or their offsprings, then that would give an unfair advantage to a specific group of people and that would be playing God.
Let’s try something simplistic and hypothetical here.
Imagine a couple wanted a child with the best mohawk, eyes so magnetic they would leave everyone hooked, a child who’d grow into an adult with a six pack even though they put in minimum effort, one who’d have the intelligence of Bill Gates (although intelligence is influenced by both nature and nurture) and the athleticism of Usain Bolt.
A scientist would take the sperm and egg of that couple, fertilize them in the lab, tweak things here and there in the embryo, add the genetic component that would give the child the desired traits and remove those components that might be unwanted. The designer embryo would then be placed in the womb. At birth, we would have a designer baby. Does this sound like fiction?
We already have a report on the birth of the first designer babies in the world, Lulu and Nana, twins born in China in October 2018. A scientist, He Jiankui, edited their genes to make them immune to HIV and cholera. This was an experiment. Some might argue he had the right intentions, but did he do the right thing playing with the human genome? Scientists and bioethicists think no. But it happened.
The danger of genome editing technology is that if misused, it could kill the core of being human. Rogue scientists could start playing around with sperms, eggs and embryos in the lab just for the fun of it. We should never reach that point.
A transgender man (he was born a woman but is now a man) in the UK decided to keep his female gonads. He fell pregnant and gave birth in 2018. He wanted the registrar to put his name down on the birth certificate as the father of the child. But the registrar told him the law considers people who fall pregnant and give birth as mothers.
He went to court, battled for almost two years. The judges said, Look man, according to our law, anyone who falls pregnant and gives birth is a mother. He lost the case in late April.
He is a mother.