Viewpoint: Human germline editing offers ‘bright future’ if done carefully

1-19-2019 doudna crispr
Image credit: Davide Bonazzi/TED

We are at the point where our technology will soon surpass our humanity. It used to be that what we had in our jeans was just what we had in our genes. But we no longer are reliant on choosing our parents wisely. It was always going to happen. The new gene editing techniques were always going to be used to alter the genome in non-medically indicated cases. But it wasn’t anticipated we’d so soon have non-therapeutic application in human embryos.

On November 28, 2018, He Jiankui, from the Southern University of Science and Technology in Guangdong China, revealed that he had performed ex vivo gene editing on two human embryos.

Gene editing places great power over altering the fundamental principles of biology, and our whole society needs to be part of the discussion on what is okay to do and what is not. And we need to move quickly but not in a hurry.

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The future we invent can be bright—but there are strings attached. … The decisions that are made will literally affect the future of our species and cannot be made in isolation from our society as a whole.

Never before have we—or any other species on this planet—had such influence and so much power over the fundamental nature of our own biology.

Read full, original post: Human Gene Editing: Great Power, Great Responsibility

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