In the age of genome editing, the question of genetic enhancements takes on new urgency. The philosopher Michael Sandel published an influential critique, which this post reviews.
Chinese researchers now used CRISPR/Cas9 in humans to treat a patient with lung cancer. This is the first time that CRISPR/Cas9 was used in humans. This procedure is surrounded by much talk about an "arms race" between Chinese and US researchers.
The Nuffield Council on Bioethics just released an important review of genome editing. The document has the potential to shape the public discussion on genome editing and influence policies. It is very broad in scope, carefully thought through, and aims at a comprehensive, balanced evaluation of genome modification.
This post gives you a "look under the bonnet" of genome editing itself. This includes issues ranging from the mechanism with which CRISPR/Cas9 specifically changes DNA to side-effects and to embryonic DNA, which is at the centre of a larger debate. Find out more!
New methods in genome editing have been described as ushering in "a new era in molecular biology". Even beyond the boundaries of genetics, genome modification has been called "transformative". It is likely to change social practices and alter the way society thinks. Given its paramount importance, it’s crucial to understand how genome modification works and what it can be used for. This post describes what CRISPR and genome editing is in a layperson's terms.
In discussing genome editing, we often distinguish between therapy and "improvement." This does not seem to do justice to people with disabilities, however. An increasing number of people with disabilities say that they don't live up to society's standards of functioning, and they are tired of being reduced to such a perceived lack – part of living "in a world that isn’t built with us in mind", in the words of one commentator.
CRISPR/CAS9 is "the new thing" in genetics. What sounds like gobbledygook is in fact a very powerful method to change the DNA within a live cell – in a bacterium, a plant, an animal, or even a human person... To make fine-tuned changes in the DNA could mean to tweak or re-design a living being. This blog is intended to contribute to the public debate about such issues, especially on the moral questions involved.