CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna on why we need human gene-editing regulations

doudna image
Credit: Ernesto Del Aguila/NHGRI

In this episode of Reset, host Arielle Duhaime-Ross talks with Jennifer Doudna about the promise and peril in CRISPR’s future, what’s next, and how we can edit our genes safely and responsibly.

[ADR:] What would it take for you to feel comfortable about a clinical trial that would change a person’s DNA in a way that would allow that change to be passed on to that person’s offspring?

[JD:] I think first and foremost, one would have to identify a real medical need for that and that real need is, right now, certainly, difficult to identify.

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[ADR:] Do you often think about the potential ways that this technology down the line could end up being used? Do you often worry about things like eugenics?

[JD:] I think that’s frankly right now still at the level of science fiction. It’s not something that’s going to happen anytime soon. … It does allow control of genes and control of genes in families, and I think that it’s essential that we be tackling that issue right now, not running from it, but saying, look, this is a powerful tool. It has this potential and we need to already be thinking about how it could be used safely and how we appropriately regulate it.

Related article:  Why CRISPR patents matter to a world worried about designer babies, rogue scientists and curing disease

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