It’s Alive! The CRISPR Debate

January 2017–Gene Editing Updates

One of the biggest stories of our times might be the biotech angles opening up with gene editing and techniques like CRISPR. These new links are only a few of the many articles about this science that offers hope… and some trepidation.

**  New Yorker writer Michael Specter discusses emerging biotechnologies that will make it possible to remove disease and change the characteristics of life by rewriting the genetic code in cells

**A new generation of crops known as gene-edited rather than genetically modified is coming to the market. 

**Gene-editing techniques could help to improve stocks of farmed pigs by boosting supplies of sperm from prized sires.
**This BBC article considers opportunities but also discusses potential dystopic issues also.   

**From an earlier post**  

Unlike some alarmists, we won’t describe recent gene editing advances by using the word commonly given to the “monster” concocted by Mary Shelley and revamped by Mel Brooks. But no matter what terms anyone uses, genetic topics are hot now–especially because of CRISPR, a revolutionary technology that can edit genetic mistakes.

The technique might help get rid of diseases like cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, and cancer. This Harvard scientist thinks it could be used to “cure” aging. But some scientists are worried about the potential negatives–like “designer babies.” Check out these articles for more background and commentary.

** This comprehensive article examines the history, promise, and implications of the powerful new gene-editing technology.
** This short article looks at the basics and includes cautionary comments from one of the leading scientists involved in the development of the CRISPR technique.

** And this online magazine offers several related “CRISPR articles,” including one discussing how much regulation should be involved.

Exciting times—and no doubt we will have controversy and debate. Plenty to be hopeful about, but maybe two quotes (taken out of context) from Young Frankenstein sum up the potential.
“Oh, sweet mystery of life, at last I’ve found you!” 
“Wait Master, it might be dangerous . . . you go, first.”


by dan gogerty (top pic from; bottom one from

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