Originally published on June 20, 2017
On the eve of publishing her new book, Jennifer Doudna, a pioneer in the field of CRISPR-Cas9 biology and genome engineering, spoke with Fast Company about the potential for this new technology to be used for good or evil.
“The worst thing that could happen would be for [CRISPR] technology to be speeding ahead in laboratories,” Doudna tells Fast Company. “Meanwhile, people are unaware of the impact that’s coming down the road.” That’s why Doudna and her colleagues have been raising awareness of the following issues.
Editing sperm cells or eggs—known as germline manipulation—would introduce inheritable genetic changes at inception. This could be used to eliminate genetic diseases, but it could also be a way to ensure that your offspring have blue eyes, say, and a high IQ. As a result, several scientific organizations and the National Institutes of Health have called for a moratorium on such experimentation. But, writes Doudna, “it’s almost certain that germline editing will eventually be safe enough to use in the clinic.”
The article is here.