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Brave New World: CRISPR Babies

Posted by Rohan Kapoor on

Brave New World: CRISPR Babies

Live DNA editing using CRISPR technology has been mostly confined to laboratory animals, insects, and in some cases livestock.  These experiments have been ensconced in controversies: 

  • What edits should we make?
  • What edits can we make?
  • What is the morality of creating Frankenstein like trans-genetic animals?
  • What are the unintended consequences?

Now imagine this technology applied to live humans.  In the recent MIT Technology Review, they detail a story from China where they do not have to imagine, they are planning to perform live experiments on humans, in this case, in-vitro twins.  The purpose of the experiment was to create a child that is resistant to several viruses, including HIV. 

There are lots of ethical issues here, but do not assume that this is science fiction.  The technology is rapidly evolving and in most cases, it is deploying much faster than our ability to understand the implications to our society.

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