An excellent op-ed piece on the way reporting of biotechnology is often reduced, unhelpfully and dangerously, to a “promise” vs. “peril” dichotomy. To do so ignores the many different positions that arise from competing (and misunderstood) values in the interactions with biotechnologies, as well as how the application of such developments shape not only those who are the target of them but also those who apply them.
But gene editing is more like terraforming, changing the landscapes, changing the idea of roads, changing the people who walk on the roads. It would alter us as a species in at least two ways: some would be changed from being engineered; some would be changed because they undertook the engineering; and all of us would be changed by living in a world where the technology was possible. We would be defined by our stances towards it, our choices to embrace, refuse, accommodate, resist. It is not merely disease that is at stake, but identity, and in more ways than we can calculate, human gene editing would rewrite the meaning of pronouns—I, we, you—from the inside.