CRISPR-Cas9: How to move forward with revolutionary new DNA editing technology

In 2012, scientists in the U.S. and Sweden invented a technology as potentially life-altering as splitting the atom. One that you haven’t heard of—yet—called “CRISPR-Cas9”. This innovation with the cumbrous name allows biologists to edit DNA almost as easily as cutting and pasting words and letters on a laptop.

Scientists say that CRISPR-Cas9 may soon allow them to perform miraculous fixes to eliminate or alter mutations that cause everything from some cancers to Parkinson’s disease. More whimsically, the technology could be used to create, say, a unicorn, or a pig with wings; though it’s unlikely they could make swine fly. More nefariously, terrorists or the military might create pathogens that could harm far more people than splitting the atom has so far. Or, an accident could occur unintentionally.

The question is how to turn this seemingly earth-shattering technology from a yawn in the public perception into a topic that society is aware of, and one that is discussed, thereby preventing or making highly unlikely the bio-equivalent of a nuke exploding. This is not easy in a culture and political system that usually reacts only when disaster strikes, and often fails to act decisively even after careful deliberations and warnings. (Think climate change). Nor are stakeholders ­ some scientists and companies, for instance, and even physicians eager to save people – always eager to dwell on what can go wrong.

Read full original article: New DNA Tech: Creating Unicorns and Curing Cancer for Real?

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