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Germline Engineering

Published onSep 30, 2019
Germline Engineering

My original artifact from the future was a gene therapy cure which could only affect the next generation. Upon further research, a more accurate name for this would be germline engineering, which only affects the sex cells in the body and not the somatic ones. While the in-class idea was pretty vague, I believe there is a lot of opportunities for interesting short stories and ethical dilemmas to come out of it. The area most ripe for exploration would be in the transitional generation when the treatment first comes out, especially if it is prohibitively expensive. Families deciding what to spend their resources on could be the cause of generational conflict, and lower-income families may not have this option at all. If the treatment is powerful enough (e.g. prevents all cancers), there may be looming concerns of overpopulation, specifically among the rich. This fear would affect class dynamics, and there’s a good chance that the very existence of this technology could cause changes in social dynamics and ways of thinking, despite it not having any tangible effects until the next generation starts getting affected by whatever diseases it cures, potentially 60 or 70 years down the line. I never had thought about the existence of a technology causing change before its effects, so this artifact proved very thought-provoking and exciting for me.


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