Viewpoint: Why we shouldn’t be scared of human gene editing

Credit: Christopher Thornock
[G]ene editing is not something to be scared of, and we must spread the word. It is a tool that can improve our lives when accompanied by strict regulations that control the accessibility to this technology and its gratuitous use. Every moment we spend afraid of gene editing is a moment someone who could be helped by it suffers unduly.

First and foremost, gene editing has the potential to treat a wide range of diseases. Scientists have been testing this theory in patients by targeting problematic genes in their DNA sequences responsible for maladies from cancer to blood disorders.

Similarly, gene editing could prove helpful in the prevention of illness if scientists find a way to edit the germline, the human reproductive cells which combine to form offspring. By identifying and fixing disease-causing mutations before individuals are born, scientists could bypass the need of having to develop new therapies in the first place.

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CRISPR might seem fantastical, but it is not. This new technology has the potential to dramatically change our lives for the better, so we shouldn’t focus only on what could go wrong. Instead, we should strive to be aware of both sides of genome editing and work to remove the stigma around it.

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