Gene Editing On Human Embryos: Pros and Cons - Essay Sample

Published: 2023-10-29
Gene Editing On Human Embryos: Pros and Cons - Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Biology Engineering Genetics Science
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1297 words
11 min read

Main Proposal (Thesis):

Genetic engineering with a clear purpose of modifying humans should be done on human embryos to eliminate the genes that cause diseases. Gene editing should not be used to improve human beings and add other features to them.

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Premise: Genetic engineering as a form of modern technology can be used to improve human beings for the advantage of the scientists. Gene modification could be used for other benefits other than the prevention and treatment of diseases caused by human DNA.

Premise: (Implied) Gene modification should not be practiced as DNA could be edited for purposes other than the intended outcomes.

Implied Conclusion: (A Proposal) Gene editing should not be allowed regardless of the expected outcomes or benefits.


Premise: There has been evidence for limits concerning how far scientists can implement genetic engineering on human beings. Little research and testing have been performed in the laboratories concerning the human DNA structure; hence, the limited information as to which parts of the DNA can be altered by synthetic applications.

Proposal: Scientists should come clear on the intention of gene modification to prevent going off-limits, such as the introduction of unwanted diseases into further generations. Some tests have been performed previously that have proven that genetic engineering is ineffective. Therefore, limits can be placed to prevent unwanted negative outcomes.

Conclusion (Implied): Gene editing can be implemented to open the door for designer babies who are more resistant to various conditions such as mitochondrial diseases. “Genome editing tool targets a particular gene enabling the alteration of deleterious and disease causing genes in certain genetic disorders” (Krishan et al., 2015).

FIRST ARGUMENT (For the treatment of mitochondrial diseases)

Premise/Observation: Gene editing is a simple process that could contribute effectively to the treatment of various mitochondrial diseases and address human pain (Plaza Reyes & Lanner, 2017). The various diseases are persistent and cut across the generation due to the concept of inheritance and genetics.

Value Judgment (Moral Principle): There is a need to relieve humans from pain regardless of the method taken, for as long as the human value is not depreciated. "The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all” (Psalms 34:19).

Conclusion (value judgment): Genetic engineering is an ethical process that advances the quality of human life (Krishan et al., 2015). Human beings should not be allowed to suffer because of diseases that can be addressed effectively through various scientific applications.

SECOND ARGUMENT (Against gene editing for improving human beings – For medical purposes)

Conclusion: Gene editing should be discouraged because of the risks associated with the improvement of human beings. While performing genetic engineering, only a little information is made available concerning the expected negative outcomes.

Premise: Little is known concerning how far gene editing could affect other generations. “Differentiation usually requires the temporal expression of specific combinations of genes, and therefore the early and/or persistent expression or downregulation of a certain gene(s) may affect the cells' ability to become more specialized” (Giudice & Trounson, 2008).

Premise: There is no evidence as to the extent to which nuclease could harm the human DNA structure to unwanted levels.

Premise: It is difficult to account for the synthetic material in the human body after successfully applying gene editing.

Premise: Gene editing could alter the sequence of unwanted DNA regions, which could cause more harm to the human being it is implemented on.

Premise (assumed) Value Judgment: It is not okay to cause harm to human beings by implementing engineering principles that could decrease human value.

Premise: Designer babies could be realized with undesirable human traits that would be difficult to deal with through reverse engineering and any other mitigation processes.

Premise: The current skills are limited for many scientists as most of them cannot be in a position to genetically engineer complex human traits.

Premise: The medical research field is too extensive such that some information could contradict during gene editing, creating more opportunities for unwanted mitochondrial diseases.

Conclusion/Value Judgment: Gene editing for the prevention of diseases can work well contrary to genetic engineering aimed at modifying human beings.

Conclusion/Value Judgment: Gene editing aimed at medical research for treating mitochondrial diseases has better outcomes compared to genetic engineering aimed at human being enhancement.

THIRD ARGUMENT (Against gene editing for improving human beings – Morally precarious)

Premise: There is little information on human beings that genetic engineering should be performed.

Premise: There is little information on how the DNA structure works as there are single genes of up to a thousand base pair long.

Premise: Little is known on the way forward to prevent negative outcomes for both those who receive and those who do not receive the synthetic genes. “Understanding how normal human pre-implantation development is controlled could have implications for the treatment of infertility and stem cell-based regenerative medicine” (Plaza Reyes & Lanner 2017).

Premise: Some human beings could be discriminated yet some receive success, a situation that could contribute to genetic engineering failure.

Value judgment: Genetic engineering for human modification, disregards equity and fairness for humankind.

Premise: There is too much controversy on how gene editing could be performed in an equitable and fair manner that puts all human beings equal.

Conclusion/Proposal: Gene editing for human advancement should not be accepted because of the injustice associated with the process.

FOURTH ARGUMENT (Against gene editing for improving human beings - Vague)

Premise: Scientists can settle on the mitochondrial diseases to be treated as well as the associated conditions that affect human life and value.

Premise: Scientists could not settle on that which is just a mere genetic variation or a mere disease as well as the most effective modes of treatment.

Conclusion/Proposal: Genetic engineering can be performed for the associated medical outcomes such as the treatment of diseases but not for the improvement of human beings through designer babies.

FIFTH ARGUMENT (Against gene editing for improving human beings – The slippery slope argument)

Premise: Genetic engineering for the treatment of prevailing mitochondrial diseases and the related condition could not be sufficiently associated with eugenics. Going down a slippery slope to poor outcomes would involve listening to one’s instincts.

Premise: Genetic engineering for the improvement if humankind could contribute to eugenics. Upon implementation, gene editing could contribute to a single outcome that would lead to an inevitable last outcome. “Multiple genetic mutations can be established at once without detectable off-target effects, providing the success of creating genome engineered primates” (Niu et al., 2014).

Conclusion/Value Judgment:

Gene editing can be implemented for the treatment of various serious diseases but not the improvement of human beings by creating designer babies.


Giudice, A., & Trounson, A. (2008). Genetic modification of human embryonic stem cells for derivation of target cells. Cell Stem Cell, 2(5), 422-433.

Krishan, K., Kanchan, T., & Singh, B. (2015). Human genome editing and ethical considerations. Science and Engineering Ethics, 22(2), 597-599.

Niu, Y., Shen, B., Cui, Y., Chen, Y., Wang, J., Wang, L., Kang, Y., Zhao, X., Si, W., Li, W., Xiang, A., Zhou, J., Guo, X., Bi, Y., Si, C., Hu, B., Dong, G., Wang, H., Zhou, Z., … Sha, J. (2014). Generation of gene-modified Cynomolgus monkey via Cas9/RNA-mediated gene targeting in one-cell embryos. Cell, 156(4), 836-843.

Plaza Reyes, A., & Lanner, F. (2017). Towards a CRISPR view of early human development: Applications, limitations, and ethical concerns of genome editing in human embryos. Development, 144(1), 3-7.

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