You will have 20 minutes to plan, write and revise an essay about the topic below. Your response will be judged on how well you develop a position, organize your ideas, present supporting details, and control the elements of standard written English. You should write 200-300 words.
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Investigating the ethical implications of gene editing for enhancing human traits.
The advent of gene editing technologies, such as CRISPR-Cas9, has opened up new possibilities for altering the human genome. This essay aims to explore the ethical implications surrounding the use of gene editing for enhancing human traits, examining the concerns and considerations raised by this emerging technology.
Gene editing for human trait enhancement raises complex ethical questions. On one hand, it holds potential benefits in areas such as treating genetic diseases and improving overall human health. However, when gene editing is used for non-medical purposes, such as enhancing physical or cognitive traits, ethical concerns come to the forefront.
One major concern is the issue of consent and autonomy. Gene editing interventions are typically performed on embryos or germ cells, meaning the changes made will be inherited by future generations. This raises questions about the right to make permanent modifications to an individual’s genetic makeup without their informed consent. It also raises concerns about the potential for creating a genetic divide between those who have access to enhancement technologies and those who do not, exacerbating existing inequalities.
Furthermore, gene editing for enhancement purposes can perpetuate societal biases and ideals of “perfection.” The pursuit of altering specific traits can lead to the commodification of human life, where individuals are valued based on their genetic attributes rather than their inherent worth. This can further marginalize and stigmatize individuals who do not conform to the prevailing ideals of enhancement.
There are also potential unintended consequences and risks associated with gene editing. The long-term effects of altering genes in humans are not fully understood, and there is a risk of introducing new genetic disorders or unforeseen health complications. Additionally, there is a concern that the focus on enhancement may divert resources and attention from addressing more pressing public health issues and ensuring equitable access to basic healthcare.