A group of Boston-area scientists believe they have found a strand of human DNA that allows certain people to live long beyond normal life expectancy. They believe this gene allows these people to avoid common killers like heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, or at least slow down the aging process.
These scientists hope that their discovery, along with further research, can allow for the production of a drug which will have the same effect as the elusive gene, and give all people much longer lives.
However, these scientists seem to be so preoccupied with whether or not they could make people live longer, they’re not thinking about whether or not they should.
As not everyone on the planet is born with this gene, it stands to reason that not everyone’s genetic makeup is equipped to accept its effects. That means a drug that mimics this gene might only work for a select group of the population, who will be given the pleasure of living a much longer life than the average person, while watching their friends and family slowly die.
Looking at the best case scenario for this drug, all people will live into their 90s or past 100. Anyone who knows someone that old knows at that age, there isn’t very much these people can do. Even healthy 98-year-olds are often confined to wheelchairs or nursing homes. And with retirement age at 65, millions of Social Security recipients would be a tremendous drain on our economy.
Medical technology already helps people live much longer lives than they did just 50 years ago. A fountain of youth drug would only add to the already huge strain overcrowding puts on our society.
Humans have been playing God for centuries, and often with disastrous results. How many species of animals have we wiped out in our conquest of nature? Is it really a coincidence that mad cow and foot and mouth diseases have become such serious problems, now that we can manipulate the genetic code enough to clone animals? Huge holes in our ozone layer allow more dangerous radiation to reach the earth, and all this in the name of science. There are certain natural boundaries humans should not cross. Circumventing the aging process has the potential to be one of the greatest mistakes ever made by humanity.