Podcast: Exploring the consequences of gene editing’s links to ‘eugenics’


[Editor’s note: Paul Knoepfler, a UC-Davis biology professor and researcher, is interviewed by Guy Raz for NPR’s Ted Radio Hour.]

RAZ: Paul [Knoepfler] spends a lot of time researching new gene-editing tools like CRISPR, which basically allows you to cut and paste genes together, and how that technology might have unintended consequences down the road.

KNOEPFLER: Genetics is this interwoven, complex universe unto itself where you touch in one area, but you touch on there and there can be reverberations.

[W]ho can argue with someone being healthier and, you know, perhaps having certain traits that are broadly perceived as quote-unquote “better?” But along with those things that society might perceive as desirable traits, you know, perhaps they would be more aggressive or perhaps they might develop some kind of unexpected disease later in life, and so at those kinds of levels we can’t always anticipate what the consequences will be.

[T]oday I see a new eugenics kind of bubbling to the surface. It’s supposed to be a kinder, gentler, positive eugenics. Different, you know, than all that past stuff. But I think even though it’s focused on trying to improve people, it could have negative consequences. And it really worries me that some of the top proponents of this new eugenics, they think CRISPR is the ticket to make it happen.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Paul Knoepfler: What Are The Unintended Consequences of Human Gene Editing?