Gene editing allows scientists to change an organism’s DNA, and the science behind it has accelerated in the past decade, thanks to a tool known as CRISPR. CRISPR heralds a new phase in human evolution: We now have the ability to change and rewrite our genetic code.
In this debate, we ask what long-term challenges and opportunities CRISPR presents, looking closely at two particular consequences: the implications of gene editing on global inequality, and the risk to evolution.
Future of Genetics
Framing the debate
Julian Savulescu, ethicist, moral philosopher and the current Uehiro Chair in Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford, comes out strongly in favor of gene editing, calling it a moral imperative for society. Technology and health care futurist Jamie Metzl sees gene editing as a foregone conclusion: We’re already using so many therapies and technologies to improve the human race, and gene editing is no different. Katie Hasson, the program director on Genetic Justice at the Center for Genetics and Society, asks, “Would the traits perceived as the ‘best’ be available only to the affluent and privileged? And would gene editing dig deeper trenches between the haves and have-nots?”
Videos about the topic:
Future of Genetics: Would You Genetically Modify Something About Yourself?
The Perfect Human: Gene Editing & CRISPR
Intro statements from our participants:
Jamie Metzl: Engineering Immunity to Pathogens Like Coronavirus
Katie Hasson: Germline Editing is Not Safe, Not Needed & Unethical
Julian Savulescu: Genetic Enhancement Is a Moral Obligation