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Google is reportedly getting into the genetic modification business. It plans to use a sexy, new genetic technology called “gene drive”, which has both excited and unsettled scientists due to its great power to make GMOs in nature via reproductive chain reactions.
This move toward genetic modification is part of a larger trend of Google and now its parent company Alphabet branching out into biology. Alphabet has said that “G is for Google”, but there could be the letters “G-M-O” in there too.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with GMOs. Some of my own research focuses on GMOs in the lab for genetic research on development and disease, but this move on gene drive technology is a new one for Google and into potentially risky territory.
What Google or at least one of its leaders Linus Upson seems to be contemplating is the use of powerful genetic modification experiments out in nature. It could be done, for example, via gene drive to target mosquitos that transmit malaria and save a lot of human lives. It’s a great idea in principle, but in practice because gene drive technology is so robust and self-propagating it could spiral out of control with huge, unintended consequences.
Read full, original post: With CRISPR, is GMO also for Google?