Geneticists are raising concern over transhumanists planning to use powerful genome editing tools to enhance their bodies, despite current issues on its safety and efficacy. They believe that gene editing could potentially trigger a mutation or unsafe gene that could be passed from generation to generation.

Transhumanists are aiming to use a gene-editing platform, known as CRISPR, which holds the potential to help eliminate diseases, such as HIV, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s. CRISPR could also allow development of methods that will prevent children from being born mentally impaired.

Transhumanists are known to believe that science can significantly help conquer death. They consider CRISPR as a tool that can help transcend natural bodies, as gene editing could theoretically help create designer babies, prevent premature aging, and stimulate muscle growth.

However, many experts want to ban human genetic editing research in the previous years, which transhumanist groups have greatly opposed. Zoltan Istvan, who is running for U.S. president as a Transhumanist candidate, believes that CRISPR could significantly help the human race.

“Despite some people saying CRISPR technology could lead to dangerous outcomes for the human race, the positive possibilities far outweigh any dangers,” Istvan told Motherboard. “With this type of gene editing tech we have a chance to wipe out hereditary diseases and conditions that plague humanity.”

He added that gene editing could also modify humans to be “much stronger and functional,” and people should “embrace” CRISPR as it could be one of the most significant scientific advancements of the century.

Despite concerns from other experts, the scientific community agree that CRISPR could be used as a new approach to prevent diseases as long as it is considered safe for use in humans. In fact, some athletes interested in body augmentation have already used some sort of gene enhancement.

There are athletes who use stem cell injections to speed their recovery from an injury. Some “smart drugs,” not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, were used by Silicon Valley types to potentially improve their brain function, and some people try transcranial by directing low electrical currents to their heads to increase neuron function.

The lack of clear regulatory frameworks for the use of such methods to enhance the body has led people interested in genetic augmentation to use the tools, according to George Church, a researcher at Harvard University and a CRISPR advocate.

Bioethicists and regulators were worried that the use of CRISPR may promote a mutation or unsafe gene, which those who enhanced their bodies could potentially pass to the next generation, potentially being a continual process.

“We also need to regulate the specific uses of the products because we’re all concerned about off-label use,” Barbara Evans, director of the Centre for Bioethics and Law at the University of Houston, said on Wednesday.

Many experts from the bioethics community are pushing to fully ban the technology. But George Daley, from the Boston Children’s Hospital, said that it would be wrong to dismiss the potential of CRISPR to help humans.

“There are some who are going to say, ‘No we shouldn’t go through that exercise at all—the technology has no real legitimate uses, therefore we don’t have to worry, we just ban it,’” he said. “But I think we want a more nuanced argument than that. And that is, I think, what we’re trying to figure out here.”

Top geneticists are currently meeting at the International Summit on Human Gene Editing to have an agreement on when, how, and for what purposes gene editing should be used in humans.

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