The GLP is committed to full transparency. Download and review our Annual Report.

Searching for a CRISPR antidote in case gene editing is used as a weapon

[W]hat’s to stop a madman, terrorist, or state from employing CRISPR to cause harm?… In her book A Crack in Creation, [CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna] wrote that she feared gene editing could come to the world’s attention, as atomic power did, in a mushroom cloud. “Could I and other concerned scientists save CRISPR from itself … before a cataclysm occurred?”

Now she would have a chance. Earlier in 2016, the US intelligence agencies had designated gene editing as a potential weapon of mass destruction. That September, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) had jumped in, putting out a call for new ways to control or reverse the effects of gene-editing technology.

Related article:  Viewpoint: If organic farmers want to promote sustainable farming they should reconsider hostility toward CRISPR-gene editing

One problem, as DARPA saw it, was the lack of any easy-to-use countermeasure, undo button, or antidote for CRISPR. And the more powerful gene editing becomes, the more we might need one—in case of a lab accident, or worse.

Work on an antidote might also be helpful just as public relations. It could, at the very least, “tamp down the mental accessibility to a malign personality,” [researcher Joeseph] Schoeniger says. “If you can turn it off, maybe they won’t bother. From a psychological point of view, it’s nice to have an ‘off’ button.”

Read full, original post: The search for the kryptonite that can stop CRISPR

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.

Send this to a friend