Class blog for sharing and commenting on current events in biology.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

DNA Editing

Wade, Nicholas. "Biologists Call for Halt to Gene Editing Technique in Humans." The New York Times. The New York Times, 19 Mar. 2015. Web. 22 Mar. 2015.

Sean Curran                                                                                                               Biology
Current Event 1                                                                                                           3/22/15

            The article I read is how scientists are trying to stop editing of human DNA before it happens. While people have been trying to change human DNA for quite some time, it only became possible in 2012 when a new technique was invented that can, as it states in the article,”... make changes to human, sperm, eggs or embryos that will last through the life of the individual and be passed on to future generations.” This process can happen if “ Researchers simply prime the defence system with a guide sequence of their choice and it will destroy the DNA sequence in any genome presented to it.” While this process can reap many benefits, including changing the beauty and intelligence of a person’s germline and ending genetic diseases, many scientists are highly opposed to modifying DNA. One of the reasons is because the process currently used can still miscut the genome, and scientists still want make sure that mistakes don’t happen. The second reason scientists oppose to using it is because many think humans will misuse it and that we are currently not overly smart enough to use it safely. While editing genes is tightly controlled in the West, many scientists are still worried that this technique could still be used in countries that have little to no laws regarding the matter.
            The topics talked about in this article greatly affect society. One reason is because if the technique becomes legalized, people will flock to use it. This is due to the fact that almost every person sees imperfections in themselves, and would most likely rush to have these imperfections changed for themselves and for their kids. It would also be used greatly because it could safely stop generic diseases, although it may be out of the price range for many people if it becomes legalized. The second effect this topic could have on society is much darker, and that is that it could end our humanity. If everyone rushes to become both beautiful and intelligent, where would our uniqueness go. Almost everyone would become the same, and the prospect of having everyone be almost exactly the same is very scary, and could possibly happen if this technique is not banned or tightly regulated.
            I writing this article, the author had both strengths and weaknesses. One of the authors strengths was that he was able to simply explain a difficult topic, making it so an average person who would normally have a hard time understanding what editing DNA was could easily understand it. A second strength of this article was that maintained unbiased, not siding toward either editing or not editing DNA, which can be hard on such a big and controversial topic. One weakness that was in this article was how the author didn't really explain the process of how the DNA is exactly modified. To improve this weakness, the author could try to explain the process in simpler words, so that people can grasp the concept more easily. A second weakness I felt the author could improve upon is how he provide and quotes from people who believe that this treatment shouldn’t be banned, but instead be encouraged. To improve upon this mistake, all the author has to do is to weave in another quote or two to the article.


6 comments:

  1. The strongest aspect of Sean’s current event was his transitions from explaining the positive outcomes of this technique to the negatives. I admired the fact that he took the time to explain what the technique was, instead of not informing the reader. The last way Sean did well was incorporating how society would make use of this new technique. Society would be rushing to get their hands on it because most people only look at their flaws.

    Based off the current event, I learned about how the technique could altercate the human genome. The altercations could eventually create a perfect human by getting rid of unwanted traits and generic diseases. I was surprised why scientists mostly disapprove this technique. They have put so much effort into the study of the sequence of DNA and the human genome, but now they do not want to get this technique approved.

    I have one suggestion for Sean: to try and not be too repetitive. He repeated a lot of what he stated in the summary and wrote it again in the relevance paragraph. Overall, he did a great job.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The strongest aspect of Sean’s current event was his transitions from explaining the positive outcomes of this technique to the negatives. I admired the fact that he took the time to explain what the technique was, instead of not informing the reader. The last way Sean did well was incorporating how society would make use of this new technique. Society would be rushing to get their hands on it because most people only look at their flaws.

    Based off the current event, I learned about how the technique could altercate the human genome. The altercations could eventually create a perfect human by getting rid of unwanted traits and generic diseases. I was surprised why scientists mostly disapprove this technique. They have put so much effort into the study of the sequence of DNA and the human genome, but now they do not want to get this technique approved.

    I have one suggestion for Sean: to try and not be too repetitive. He repeated a lot of what he stated in the summary and wrote it again in the relevance paragraph. Overall, he did a great job.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I chose to comment on Sean’s analysis of "Biologists Call for Halt to Gene Editing Technique in Humans" by Nicholas Wade. One thing that I enjoyed about Sean’s review was how he logically presented his information. The clear presentation of the material was conducive to my understanding of the pros and cons of DNA editing. I also took to Sean’s use of quotations from the article, they backed up his general points solidifying his already well done summary. Furthermore, I appreciate how Sean created an honest and thoughtful critique of the article. The critique adds to my understanding of the article because it supplements my understanding of the pros and cons of the topic, as well as the authors writing style and whether he may have presented the information in an objective or subjective way. Finally, Sean’s great use of vocabulary and solid grammar made his review more enjoyable to read. Though much of Seans report was very good, there are a couple things he could improve upon. First of all, he could include some more background on DNA editing and the science behind it. Occasionally I was confused because I did not have a full understanding of the process itself. Additionally, I thought that the potential implications that Sean articulated were very interesting and certainly true, but I hoped that he would include more immediate impacts about the possible commercial use of DNA editing. I learned many things from Sean’s review, but one thing that stood out to me was the reality of DNA editing if it were to become an unregulated process in third world countries with not as sophisticated technology. Faults in the editing process can lead to serious harm as well as the armageddon like problem of lacking individuality. Overall, Sean did a great job with all parts of his review and I learned a lot about DNA editing and its impacts, both positive and negative, and how it may affect both our generation and future generations.

    ReplyDelete
  4. As I read Sean's review of the article "Biologists Call for Halt to Gene Editing Technique in Humans" by Nicholas Wade, I found there were both very good aspects and also ones that could be improved on. The first thing I felt Sean did a great job on was how he presented both sides of this issue to the reader. He clearly laid out the positives and negatives of DNA editing. I also felt the Sean did an exemplary job addressing the impact this will have on our society. He gives a thoughtful and insightful explanation so the reader can really understand how this is effecting the word around them. Finally, I found that Sean's use of quotations from the article made his review more reliable and gave us an idea of the authors writing technique and voice. Through Sean's detailed summary and intuitive analysis, I was able to learn a lot. For instance, I didn't understand the full capabilities of this process before reading Sean's review. I learned that it could actually alter the human genome enough to create a "perfect human being". I also learned the extremely negative effects DNA editing could have on our society and was surprised to hear how open it may be to the public .he one critique I have for Sean, is that he explain the actual scientific process more. I felt he mostly addressed its effect on society and not the actual science behind DNA editing. However, overall Sean did a very good job on his review.

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  5. Sean's topic was well-chosen; the article not only discusses the possibilities of a deviation in the course of evolution but also provokes an argument, allowing the reader to take a stance. It is extremely interesting and relevant to Biology. His ideas in the second paragraph about the dangers of this technology were articulated very well, and he assessed the credibility of the author thoughtfully. It is fascinating to think that we have control over our own race in the future; the evolution from ape to human has occurred naturally, but this article addresses how the contemporary offers technology that can easily alter the development of humans at will. Sean's prediction of a hypothetical indifferent society was creative and added intrigue to his report. Grammatically, the writing could have been proofread a more carefully, but overall learning about Sean's issue was enjoyable.

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  6. I choose to comment on Sean's topic because I found the topic extremely interesting. He summarized the topic extremely well and gave me a better understanding of what genome editing is. I really enjoyed how he added in quotes from his article that gave a more detailed explanations for what genome editing was. I like how he talked about how the author did not take a side when writing about the DNA modifications because many scientist feel very differently about how genome editing should be gone about.
    I did not know that it was even possible to edit genomes and to enhance beauty and intelligence in a person so that was very interesting to read about. I also learned that they could end genetic diseases which would be a great achievement for society.
    I think Sean did a great job and really captured the important parts of the article. I was so fascinated by the topic that I read the entire article after reading his current event. I think he could improve on his second paragraph by talking more about the ending of genetic diseases than just talking about the enhancement of intelligence and beauty.

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