CRISPR creator Jennifer Doudna: It’s ‘important that ethical discussions keep pace with technology’

| | May 25, 2018
Feature Pic Doudna Whiteboard
Jennifer Doudna and her lab, Image credit: Cailey Cotner/UC Berkeley
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Jennifer Doudna, the gene-editing pioneer whose breakthrough in CRISPR technology has taken the scientific world by storm, expressed surprise [May 22] at how fast the world’s scientists have put her findings to work, as well as concern that gene-editing technology could outpace ethical constraints on its use.

CRISPR could help people awaiting organ transplants by making animal organs more humanlike or less likely to be rejected by human hosts, Doudna said. It is being used to explore ways to cure human diseases, like Huntington’s, that have genetic causes, and it can also be used to create diagnostics.

In agriculture, Doudna said, scientists can change the genomes of crop plants far more precisely using CRISPR than they can with selective breeding. Changes could make crops more robust in adverse conditions, pest-resistant, and able to bear more fruit.

Related article:  Revamped CRISPR could be more accurate and effective against human diseases, including sickle cell anemia

Some changes, like those to differentiated tissue cells known as somatic cells, will only affect the organism in which they are made, while those made to cells important to reproduction, called “germline editing,” will be passed on to future generations.

With the ability to easily change the genome of an organism, including a human being, Doudna said it is important that ethical discussions keep pace with technology.

Read full, original post: CRISPR’s breakthrough implications

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
sperm swim

Video: Sperm are ‘spinners not swimmers’—because they are lopsided

Research by fertility scientists in the UK and Mexico challenges the accepted view of how sperm “swim”, suggesting that it ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
breastfeeding bed x facebook x

Infographic: We know breastfeeding helps children. Now we know it helps mothers too

When a woman becomes pregnant, her risk of type 2 diabetes increases for the rest of her life, perhaps because ...
biotechnology worker x

Can GMOs rescue threatened plants and crops?

Some scientists and ecologists argue that humans are in the midst of an "extinction crisis" — the sixth wave of ...
food globe x

Are GMOs necessary to feed the world?

Experts estimate that agricultural production needs to roughly double in the coming decades. How can that be achieved? ...
eating gmo corn on the cob x

Are GMOs safe?

In 2015, 15 scientists and activists issued a statement, "No Scientific consensus on GMO safety," in the journal Environmental Sciences ...
Screen Shot at PM

Charles Benbrook: Agricultural economist and consultant for the organic industry and anti-biotechnology advocacy groups

Independent scientists rip Benbrook's co-authored commentary in New England Journal calling for reassessment of dangers of all GMO crops and herbicides ...
Screen Shot at PM

ETC Group: ‘Extreme’ biotechnology critic campaigns against synthetic biology and other forms of ‘extreme genetic engineering’

The ETC Group is an international environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Canada whose stated purpose is to monitor "the impact of emerging technologies and ...
Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend