[A]t WIRED’s 2017 Business Conference in New York, Jennifer Doudna said it was…Crispr custom-designed human offspring that made her take a step back from her own research and get involved in public discussions around the technology.
For the last few years she’s been speaking to scientists, politicians, and federal regulators around the world about the potential risks and rewards of Crispr. “I think it’s really likely that in the not-too-distant future it will cure genetic disease,” she said. “But globally we need to come up with a consensus on moving forward in a responsible way.”
In 2015, Doudna was part of a broad coalition of leading biologists who agreed to a worldwide moratorium on gene editing to the “germ line,” which is to say, edits that get passed along to subsequent generations. But it’s legally non-binding, and scientists in China have already begun experiments that involve editing the genome of human embryos. Using Crispr to cure inheritable genetic diseases is still a long way off, and fraught with ethical potholes. Which is why Doudna said people who are excited about the possibilities of Crispr shouldn’t look to the clinic for its first big successes, but rather to the farm field.
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