Who will CRISPR benefit? How to prevent this life-saving technology from creating gender and geographical disparities

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From cancer to malaria to HIV, CRISPR is set to open up all kinds of dramatic breakthroughs in medicine, as well as agriculture. But who gets to wield this exciting new gene-editing tool, and who will benefit from the outcomes? Systems biologist and TED Fellow Geoffrey Siwo — who works at the Eck Institute of Global Health at the University of Notre Dame — wants to make sure that this emerging technology gets an equitable start. Last week, Siwo published new research that he hopes will address and prevent gender, geographical and other disparities in CRISPR research.

Here, Siwo shares some of the disparities that his new paper highlights and tells us why it’s so important to start making genome-editing research more accessible to all.

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The first are regional disparities: institutions in the US and China are leading in terms of publications on genome-editing technologies.

Some published papers are not open access — problematic because if only those who can read these are those who can afford them, it affects who ends up developing the technology.

It’s important to keep in mind, too, that CRISPR and other emerging technologies are being developed so quickly that any disparity that exists at their outset will be greatly amplified within a short period of time.

Read full, original post: Let’s design CRISPR to benefit everyone while we still can

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