CRISPR co-creator: We should have freedom to choose our ‘genetic destiny’

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[Editor’s Note: Jennifer Doudna is a professor of chemistry and molecular and cell biology at the University of California Berkeley. She has been a leading figure in the development of CRISPR-mediated genome editing.]

If CRISPR can help parents conceive a disease-free child when no other options exist and it can do so safely, ought we to use it? It’s a question I’ve asked myself again and again…

While I share the general feeling of unease at the idea of humans taking control of their evolution, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that nature has fine-tuned our genetic composition…

Similarly, the argument that germline editing is unnatural doesn’t carry much weight with me anymore. When it comes to human affairs and especially the world of medicine, the line between natural and unnatural blurs to the point of disappearing.

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My views on the ethics of germline editing continue to evolve, ​but as they do, I find myself returning time and again to the issue of choice. Above all else, we must respect people’s freedom to choose their own genetic destiny and strive for healthier, happier lives. If people are given this freedom, they will do with it what they personally think is right, ​whatever that may be.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Opinion: Should we use gene editing to produce disease-free babies? A scientist who helped discover CRISPR weighs in

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