Editing genes to ensure that children don’t develop diseases like heart trouble or schizophrenia has been a hot topic in recent months, but some scientists claim that while this may benefit parents and children in the short term, we may rob our society of geniuses.
According to Dr. James Kozubek, many geniuses, especially those of the creative variety, suffer from physical or mental disorders that parents want to edit out. For instance, he states that writers are 10 times more likely to develop bipolar disorder and poets are 40 times more likely to develop bipolar.
Kozubek also noted that autism might actually serve a purpose since evolution hasn’t erased it; and many of the most famous creative and scientific geniuses have been diagnosed with autism or Asperger’s.
“Thomas Edison was ‘addled’ and kicked out of school. Tennessee Williams, as a teenager on the boulevards of Paris felt afraid of ‘the process of thought’ and came within ‘a hairsbreadth of going quite mad’.
Scientists tend to think of variations in life as problems to be solved, deviations and abnormalities outside of a normal curve.
In reality, Darwin showed us that evolution does not progress toward an ideal concept or model, but rather is a work of tinkering toward adaptation in local niches.”
Scientists in the United States and China are currently working on a technology to edit genes to destroy cancer, known as Crispr-Cas9. But Kozubek isn’t convinced that these are beneficial to our society, even though it has helped cure cancer in at least one case.
Since Crispr-Cas9 involves taking away “bad” DNA that expresses cancer, it could mean taking away sections that possibly express genius.
“Before we begin modifying our genes with gene editing tools such as Crispr-Cas9, we’d be smart to recall that genetic variants that contribute to psychiatric conditions may even be beneficial depending on the environment or genetic background.”
However scientists claim they can edit the DNA with such accuracy that this won’t be a problem in the future and instead can simply target and eradicate the cancer in the body.