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Should we be experimenting with our genetic code?

Discuss the November 2016 Book of the Month, Roan: The Tales Of Conor Archer by E. R. Barr.

Should we be experimenting with our genetic code?

Post Number:#1 by Ripley3131
» 30 Nov 2016, 09:02

I've asked myself this question many times, but in reading Roan it has resurfaced. I was wondering what others think about this.
Personally, I think that mapping our DNA is okay and beneficial, but changing and altering it is ill advised.
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Re: Should we be experimenting with our genetic code?

Post Number:#2 by greenstripedgiraffe
» 01 Dec 2016, 17:33

Yeah, changing and altering DNA gets humanity into dangerous territory... what are the lines that should never be crossed? How does one determine those lines? WHO determines those lines?! lots of ramifications here...
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Re: Should we be experimenting with our genetic code?

Post Number:#3 by Ripley3131
» 01 Dec 2016, 18:27

Yes, I agree. Thank you for weighing in on this topic. While reading Roan I had a lot of the same questions going through my mind. As we progress in the field of genetic research I believe there will be many questions that will arise and require answers. Hopefully, humanity won't have to pay too much for its mistakes before those questions can be answered appropriately.
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Re: Should we be experimenting with our genetic code?

Post Number:#4 by ramblinggnomes
» 04 Dec 2016, 12:56

I think experimenting with our genetic code is definitely happening and it will be a disaster and marvel at the same time. As human beings we are naturally curious and pushing the boundaries of our world and our science. Also, we naturally tend to treat any new form of experimentation in science as a potential apocalypse waiting to happen. That's not to say that there won't be ethical issues and that there won't be mistakes made but we have to look at issues that were previously controversial such as stem cell research and look at the good that has ultimately come from it.
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Re: Should we be experimenting with our genetic code?

Post Number:#5 by MerryLove
» 04 Dec 2016, 21:39

It's a very touchy subject. It's something that would be fascinating to study and would have many useful, helpful benefits, but there could also be many unintended consequences and ways for it to be used in a less than helpful manner. It's the same sort of conundrum that occurs when we talk about cyborgs (combining artificial intelligence and humans). I can't say that there is a right answer. To be against it is to hold society back and say we shouldn't move forward with our learning, and to be all for its implementation is a dangerous way to think. So, I guess it will be what it will be, and we'll see as we go along.
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Re: Should we be experimenting with our genetic code?

Post Number:#6 by Diving doc
» 06 Dec 2016, 12:52

I think that modern medicine has already resulted in a genetically weak species. Add in a society where the lowest common denominator have the most children, and maybe we need to look at altering the genetic code so we evolve rather than devolve.
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Re: Should we be experimenting with our genetic code?

Post Number:#7 by Pookabooks
» 09 Dec 2016, 13:02

I completely agree with you. It is dangerous and the possible implications are not forseeable. Obviously, we can learn a lot and grow by researchering gentic code and various aspects of it. I think it may be possible to experiment with gentic code in a controlled way, while not intending to ever actually change it.
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Re: Should we be experimenting with our genetic code?

Post Number:#8 by heshma_m
» 10 Dec 2016, 01:09

I agree with you. It is marvelous that we can do this. But it is dangerous and disaster at the same time. It should not be accepted in the society.
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Re: Should we be experimenting with our genetic code?

Post Number:#9 by captain-rina
» 14 Dec 2016, 22:03

I agree that genetic code experimentation is highly dangerous and should not be done. although alterations of DNA do occur without our help producing small, usually unseen, mutations; the possibilities are infinite and definitely scary to think about. although these things are already undeniably happening I truely feel that although I enjoy reading about the prospect of genetic experimentation in fiction books I believe it should stay fiction.
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Re: Should we be experimenting with our genetic code?

Post Number:#10 by Jennifer Allsbrook
» 14 Dec 2016, 22:20

Ripley3131 wrote:I've asked myself this question many times, but in reading Roan it has resurfaced. I was wondering what others think about this.
Personally, I think that mapping our DNA is okay and beneficial, but changing and altering it is ill advised.


As a teacher of Biotechnology, I believe that utilizing organisms, cells, and molecules such as DNA to create useful products and to solve problems of society is a useful endeavor. Genetic engineering has been occurring since the 1970's and the benefits outweigh the risks thus far. Human proteins created through recombinant DNA technology including insulin, human growth hormone, interferon, blood clotting factors and many more are being used to treat disease and ease suffering. The future of genetic engineering and genetic manipulation is entering a new era with tools such as the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing. This protein and enzyme complex was discovered in bacteria as a kind of immune system. The CRISPR-Cas9 system was shown to be able to find specific sequences in the genome and alter or change the DNA sequence. This opens new doors that have never been explored before. This biotechnology was first described in the scientific literature in 2012, so it is in its infancy but the number of laboratories and companies jumping on the CRISPR band wagon is huge. If you have not heard about this before, I suggest you google it and educate yourselves. Gene editing is happening and will continue to happen. Ethical and moral considerations must be discussed and a future pathway for this science needs to be laid out. The implications for possible use and misuse are important considerations for society as a whole not just the scientists working in laboratories throughout the world. I will teach my students so that they are scientifically literate and can have educated conversations and make choices about this type of technology. Sorry for being long-winded but this topic is fascinating and most people do not realize how close gene editing in humans really is to being a reality.
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Re: Should we be experimenting with our genetic code?

Post Number:#11 by Ripley3131
» 14 Dec 2016, 22:35

Wow, good to know. Thanks for weighing in with such a wealth of information. Call me naïve, but it's worrisome in a lot of ways. For instance, there was not a lot known about the atom bomb, even after testing it in the desert repeatedly, only later did we truly begin to discover all the long-term, disastrous consequences of its use. I'll try to keep an open mind, but allow me some misgivings, because I think we're in for a rocky road.😉
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Re: Should we be experimenting with our genetic code?

Post Number:#12 by va2016
» 26 Dec 2016, 03:15

I don't think so. As such we are huge lot of interesting
people in the world, whom we can live happily with
as they are. Let nature do its work, and let's not
interfere with that.
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Re: Should we be experimenting with our genetic code?

Post Number:#13 by Modern_Moses
» 28 Dec 2016, 21:41

As a current Zoology student I believe that no, we should most certainly NOT be altering genetic codes. Cloning is real, though it is not as advanced as it may be in your typical sci-fy movie. Have you ever watched the TV Series The Walking Dead? So many things could go wrong with cloning. The more we experiment with it, the more realistic the idea of a zombie apocalypse becomes. Laugh if you so desire, while we scientists try to regain our footing with those of us too childish to see the danger. Thank you for reading :)
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Re: Should we be experimenting with our genetic code?

Post Number:#14 by Jennifer Allsbrook
» 28 Dec 2016, 22:44

Modern_Moses wrote:As a current Zoology student I believe that no, we should most certainly NOT be altering genetic codes. Cloning is real, though it is not as advanced as it may be in your typical sci-fy movie. Have you ever watched the TV Series The Walking Dead? So many things could go wrong with cloning. The more we experiment with it, the more realistic the idea of a zombie apocalypse becomes. Laugh if you so desire, while we scientists try to regain our footing with those of us too childish to see the danger. Thank you for reading :)


There is so much more to genetic manipulation than cloning. As I mentioned in a previous post, the CASPR/Cas9 system of gene editing is a huge area of research currently and is growing daily since its introduction in 2012. If you google it, you get over two million hits. To say that we shouldn't experiment with the genetic code ignores that fact that it is happening whether most average citizens are aware of it or not. Genetic manipulation has been happening in other organisms since the work of Boyer and Cohen in the early 1970's. It is now possible to go into specific cells at specific gene loci and change the DNA nitrogen base sequence. What is the future of this technology? What applications will arise and how will it be regulated? Those are the questions that need to be answered. It is too late to ask should we be doing it. That ship has sailed!
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Re: Should we be experimenting with our genetic code?

Post Number:#15 by Acwoolet
» 02 Jan 2017, 16:19

I think that experimenting with our genetic code could be very dangerous territory. I suppose it could be beneficial in some ways, we could find cures to diseases that we wouldn't find otherwise. Yet at the same time it could be unethical and become disastrous.
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