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SCIENCE, SOCIOLOGY, RELIGION => Science and Technology => Topic started by: mdw-ntr on September 04, 2017, 10:36:53 AM

Title: If you could edit your child's genes, would you?
Post by: mdw-ntr on September 04, 2017, 10:36:53 AM
If you could edit your childís genes, would you?

Dr. Alan Copperman joined Salon Talks to discuss the ethics of the first gene editing technology in human embryos

In early August, Nature reported that an international group of scientists used CRISPRĖCas9 gene editing technology to correct a mutation in the DNA in human embryos. The embryos in question were not implanted, but the mere fact that this experiment was successful raises a number of questions about the ethics of rearranging human DNA on the molecular level.

Recently on Salon Talks, Dr. Alan Copperman, the director of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Mount Sinai Medical Center, laid out both the science and the ethical considerations.

What is CRISPR?

CRISPR really is a mouthful to say. Itís Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, which basically itís the genome-editing software. Do you know how when you look at a document and you do a find-and-replace?

What scientists have now done thatís exciting to us is, in an embryo, even in a single-celled embryo, theyíve actually trained these little complexes, these CRISPR Cas-9 complexes, to go in, identify with essentially a molecular scalpel, parts of DNA that are mutations or abnormal.

Itís not that cheap and itís not that easy, but itís imminently doable. We just have to make sure that itís safe and that there are no untoward consequences.

Why does this bring up major ethical considerations?

This is germ-line alteration. These changes that weíre going to make in the DNA will be passed on to the next generation and the next generation after that. Thatís why thereís this public concern that this has to be done safely. We have to know weíre just curing the disease, that weíre not creating some effects afterwards. (