The invention of CRISPR-CAS9 allows one to edit the genome easily. As a result, many are excited by the potential breakthroughs in medical applications. Others worry that the development of this technology will lead to genetic enhancement, the modification of a set of genes toward a non-therapeutic end goal. After reviewing the philosophical and ethical literature regarding genetic enhancement it became apparent that there was a lack of specificity. Often, the arguments portrayed genetic enhancement as an unbelievable process. In reality, the effects of genetic enhancement are far tamer. The folly in these discussions lies in the notion that traits are tied to one gene when, in fact, these attributes manifest due to a variety of genes that play upon each other. To demonstrate, rather than discussing the morality of enhancing human intelligence in some ambiguous method, it is far more likely that we will instead enhance a specific feature of the cognitive ability; akin to manipulating genes for long-term memory retrieval to increase intelligence. This thought experiment results in a different analysis than prior arguments by ethicists. This talk will explore the multitude of issues implicated by the question of whether genetic enhancement of humans is moral. Furthermore, it will present that the consequences of human genetic enhancement are deemed moral on a utilitarian ethical framework. Utilitarianism emphasizes the aggregate individual happiness to determine the overall good. Enhancement of individuals leads to increased happiness due to a better lifestyle therefore genetic enhancement is permissible under utilitarianism.
"Genetic Enhancement of the Inevitable,"
Mako: NSU Undergraduate Student Journal: Vol. 2023, Article 2.
Available at: https://nsuworks.nova.edu/mako/vol2023/iss1/2