BUILDING A PERSON FROM SCRATCH — IN A LAB

#cloning #HumanGenome #BuildingAPersonFromScratch
A couple decades ago, there was talk of cloning, or making an exact copy of an animal, person etc. Dolly, the cloned sheep, became a household name.
Now, scientists are beginning a 10-year program that will re-create the human genome which, if successful, could lead to creating people without the help of parents.
The proposal was published June 2, 2016, in the journal Science, and was the subject of an article by New York Times reporter Andrew Pollack. Pollack’s article was republished in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The idea of building people in a lab is fraught with moral considerations. The potential for huge advancements in medical science is intriguing. Still, Dr. Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health — the main funder of medical research in the United States – said that while the NIH is interested in encouraging advances in DNA synthesis, it “has not considered the time to be right for funding a large-scale, production-oriented” project like this one, according to Pollack’s article.
Collins also said such a project immediately raises “numerous ethical and philosophical red flags,” according to Pollack’s article.
The nonprofit Center of Excellence for Engineering Biology, which will run the project, intends to get funding from several public and private sources, according to Pollack’s article.
It’s fairly easy to see the medical advancement potential here. “It might be possible to make organisms resistant to all viruses, for instance, or make pig organs suitable for transplant into people,” Pollack writes.
But to make a whole person, piece by piece, in a lab? That’s delving into areas that will challenge ethics, potentially alter population mix and a host of other things that could change mankind as we know it.
We live in a diverse world. We celebrate that diversity. We work with, and live with, nature, while allowing it to be natural. We certainly like to manufacture things that will benefit us, but manufacturing people may be beyond what we should be doing.
Instead, if we don’t like our situation, or we don’t like whom we’ve become, let’s remake ourselves without making a new person from scratch. We all have the ability to change, to become better people, without changing our DNA, or becoming artificial.
One of the ways we can change is to help others more. To check out one of the best ways to do that, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. You can see how people helping people potentially can help make all involved prosperous.
There are many things we, as smart humans, can do to make the world a better place. There are diseases to fight, physical, economic and other challenges to overcome.
But creating people in labs potentially will dehumanize us as a whole. Imagine a person created in a lab being asked where he or she came from, what his or her family background is etc. Those are all things that make us who we are. How does adding to an already overpopulated world from a lab enhance the world experience?
If this project remains limited in scope, much good could come from it. The danger lies in carrying it out to its fullest potential.
Let’s hope the researchers, presuming they get the funding to do this, will be mindful of all ramifications of their research as they conduct it. Just because something CAN be done, doesn’t mean it SHOULD be done.
Peter

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