SEP 16, 2016 09:56 AM PDT

CRISPR-Cas9 for Genetically Modified Humans?

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker

Science portrayed in movies is, unsurprisingly, usually farfetched and largely separated from reality. However unrealistic this pseudoscience can be, it often instills real concerns in the people who watch movies and read books. One of the biggest anxieties surrounds genetic editing, especially of humans.

Editing DNA in human embryos is legal in Britain, using a technology that's taken science by storm during the past decade: CRISPR Cas9. The CRISPR system, which stands for "Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats," is inspired by bacteria who developed CRISPR over time in self defense from viral attacks. Now that CRISPR has been adapted for use in the lab and in the clinic, scientists can use it to make genetic changes in genomes of all types of animals, including in humans.

While CRISPR has already been used in multiple scenarios like altering pig DNA, defusing allergens, and making mosquitoes that can't transmit malaria, science isn't quite yet at the stage of making "designer babies," or making unpredictable germline changes. While these genetic changes could eventually wipe out genetic diseases and given humans disabilities, it would also be opening a Pandora's box full of ethical dilemmas and other unknowns.
About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
JUL 18, 2018
Videos
JUL 18, 2018
Brain Differences in Men and Women
Men and women are different, of that there is no doubt. In neuroscience, there has been a lot of research into these differences, as they relate to treatin...
JUL 24, 2018
Videos
JUL 24, 2018
A wave of plastic is washing over the DR
Footage from a video taken by “Parley for the Ocean” on July 14, 2018, shows an actual wave of plastic washing over the shores of Santo Domingo...
JUL 30, 2018
Videos
JUL 30, 2018
Why Does Venus Spin In The Wrong Direction?
Scientists first discovered planet Venus as an inferno of acid rain. But, most uniquely, it was a planet that spins backward. In astronomy, backward spinni...
AUG 11, 2018
Videos
AUG 11, 2018
How Is Sugar Extracted?
How is sugar extracted? Well, sugar is extracted from a root vegetable, the sugar beet. However, the whole extraction process is a precise procedure that i...
AUG 13, 2018
Videos
AUG 13, 2018
One Cell was Consumed by Another in a Evolutionary Leap
A process called endosymbiosis may have given evolution a lot of help....
AUG 15, 2018
Videos
AUG 15, 2018
CBD Being Used in Stem Cell Research
CDKL5 (cyclin-dependent kinase-like 5) is a gene that is found on the X-chromosome, mutations to this gene lead to a rare genetic disorder. Scientists...
Loading Comments...