In the wake of gene-editing technologies like CRISPR are designed to mitigate medical illnesses. Yet, they may offer a potential pathway to alter a baby’s physical features. From eye color, height, skin tone, and hair color, gene-editing technologies may ultimately expand to the realm of physical features. This may bring up serious human rights concerns as gene-editing tunes the natural phenotypes of babies for cosmetic purposes. Supporting social beauty standards may pose a threat to the autonomy of the natural development of the baby.
While gene-editing is not currently in practice in the US, there is greater support for its medicinal applications over cosmetic ones. Particularly, the public and clinicians alike generally expressed stronger support for gene editing for medicinal purposes.1 This could be due to the factorization of which there is a major humanitarian concern with gene editing and its potential dangers for human development. Through trading nature’s selection for human technology, the natural process of phenotype selection is lost.
In the process of gene editing babies’ physical characteristics, there is a rejection of nature’s selection of the babies’ phenotypes. Altering the babies’ genes may violate the child’s right to natural characteristics, seeing that there is not a life threat. With this, there is a potential risk of impacting the DNA sequence of the child as it develops later in life.
With support for a homogenous standard of beauty, gene-editing may support the evolving standards of beauty in our society. Social standards of beauty influence many aspects of our lifestyle from style, makeup, and language, and they may impact the physical attributes of children. This could press the concern of the potential for babies to evolve with homogenous physical traits, leaving out the beauty in heterogeneous features. Some phenotypes of the child may be lost in the quest for a designer baby. With this, parents may trade natural processes for the industrial and societal control of the phenotypes of their child. This may lead to the question of which boundary can society influence child development?
While there is currently no governmental support for the implementation of gene editing in the US, there is a long way to go. But fascinatingly, understanding the potential risks involved in both medicinal and phenotype gene-editing may be crucial for the human race.
 Juliette Delhove, Ivana Osenk, Ivanka Prichard, and Martin Donnelley.Human Gene Therapy.Jan 2020.20-46.http://doi.org/10.1089/hum.2019.197
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