Manipulating the Bipolar Code

dnaPlaying God can be done by various means. When I’m delusional, I believe I can “play God” by sheer mental will power alone, but that’s not what I’m referring to here.  I’m referring to genetic engineering, the direct manipulation of our genetic code.

Currently, scientists in the United States have mapped the human genome. They can identify various genes that cause many genetically linked disorders like Type 1 Diabetes and Crohn’s disease. ( “The Elusive Genetics of Bipolar Disorder”)  Another disorder they are targeting is bipolar disorder. They are hoping to find better ways of treating it than what we currently possess. Eventually, they might be able to correct the disorder through genetic engineering.

So, this brings me to my question: Would you genetically engineer your child to be free of the genes that could cause him or her to be bipolar?

I find this to be a very difficult question for people to answer. For my husband and I, we both agree that we wouldn’t. He does not like the idea of messing with the gene pool because it goes against what nature had intended. Believing in Darwinism, he believes that there are genetic alterations in our code for a purpose of making us different from one another or to prevent or lead to a strengthening of the species.

I agree with him, but I also see it as a means of additional power that our government could gain more control over our lives. Have you seen the Gattacamovie Gattaca with Uma Thurman and Jude Law? It’s about a society that genetically selects and creates perfect babies without allowing “love babies” (those born of natural means) to mingle and flourish with them. I guess you can say I’m looking at a worse case scenario, but come on. Hasn’t our society proven we are capable of this time and time again? I find genetic engineering to be playing God because it gives us the power to decide someone’s fate.

On the other hand for my twin sister, she thinks that she might use genetic engineering to make sure her child is free of the disorder. She’s the doctor in the family and she isn’t bipolar, but she sees those who are untreated or off medication all the time to know how hard the disorder can be for people. She believes that fixing the problems are more important and not “playing God” at all.

So, what are your thoughts? Would you use genetic engineering to keep your child free of the genes that cause bipolar disorder?


2 thoughts on “Manipulating the Bipolar Code

  1. William October 11, 2009 / 9:55 PM

    People who suffer from bipolar have so much to offer to ending suffering in the world…yet most are to lost in their disorder.

    People are always looking for that “Great Cure All” – the one that is going to save us all. The one that is going to take away their fears.

    No one who is suffering needs the “Great cure all”. Where is the great here and now of compassion, understanding and just being there for someone.

    We don’t need people pushing aside the humane compassionate side of comforting people while they hope or search for a great all cure.

    If the cure comes, it comes, but I promise you – a person suffering right now – will benefit more from compassion, than from people pushing them away and saying “we are working on it or I have hope their will be a cure.” That is merely a distraction of the worst kind.

    Also, why do I need to be cured? My disorder is not me, but it forces me to heights I may of never achieved had I just lived in someones vision of a perfect life.

    How silly the disillusionment to think one can even try to control ones life or things around them. My disorder taught me that I am not in control, but neither is anyone else suffering from a disorder or not.

    You have a lot to offer…and neither your disorder, perceptions, yourself or anyone can take that away. Oh, they can tell you and you can believe it, but that doesn’t make it true.

  2. mydualities October 12, 2009 / 10:58 AM

    As always, beautifully said. Thank you.

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