It is possible that one day, genetic engineering will save the lives of humans on Mars. According to recent gene tests, scientists were able to drive a small mosquito population to near extinction through a gene editing tool called CRISPR. CRISPR-Cas9, a gene editing tool, became available starting from 2012. As genetic engineering gets easier and less costly, scientists should one day be able to revise a human’s genes to make it easier to live on Mars.
Technological and Ethical Obstacles for Genetic Engineering
Of course, there will be technological and ethical obstacles that arise when it comes to genetic engineering. The gene edit from CRISPR might trigger unwanted changes. In addition, there will be questions such as whether a scientist should be able to create hybrids of humans and animals at all. Despite the enthusiasm, it might be ethically wrong to give a human the characteristics of a wolf to allow them to live in areas of intense radiation. Such concerns might hold back the scientific community for now.
However, there might be a future need to genetically engineer humans so that they can survive extensive space travel. If the planet Earth, at any point, is incapable of hosting its human population, humans will need to look for other habitats. Genetically engineering humans might help keep them alive somewhere else in the universe.
Use of Genetics for Selective Breeding
Today, it is not uncommon to see selective breeding. Down syndrome in babies, caused by a genetic disorder, is extremely common. Cases involving Down syndrome often result in selective breeding. In Europe, 90-92% of detected Down syndrome pregnancies result in parents deciding to opt for termination. In such cases, we are already pre-selecting humans based on their medical conditions. Because we are already pre-selecting humans based on medical conditions, it might just be one more leap for humanity’s survival to pre-select people based on their ability to survive on Mars.
Genetic Engineering for Mars-Dwelling Humans
Scientists are not yet able to genetically engineer Mars-dwelling humans, but it is the next step. Once the humans leave too much garbage around them, the Earth will be deemed unfit for living. Then, it is highly likely that the community will selectively breed and genetically engineer babies who can live on Mars.
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