SEP 16, 2016 9:56 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
MAR 24, 2020
Cardiology
MAR 24, 2020
Infection of The Heart
Inflammation of the heart muscle can affect the hearts electrical system. This can reduce the heart's ability to pum ...
APR 12, 2020
Space & Astronomy
APR 12, 2020
Three New Crew Members Arrive at the International Space Station
The International Space Station received three new crew members this past week following extensive pre-quarantine measur ...
MAY 04, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAY 04, 2020
A Capuchin Monkey's Curiosity Can Sometimes Cloud its Judgement
Capuchin monkeys are highly intelligent animals, but they’re also rather curious. They’ve adapted to communi ...
MAY 14, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
MAY 14, 2020
Do Organic Chemists Speak an Alien Language?
Have you ever read a detergent label and got confused? Or had trouble understanding a medication recall? Certain ch ...
MAY 17, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAY 17, 2020
Male Garter Snakes Trick Others to Improve Own Mating Success
After spending several months in hibernation during the winter, male garter snakes emerge from the underground where the ...
MAY 24, 2020
Space & Astronomy
MAY 24, 2020
Here's Why SpaceX is Using Heavy Stainless Steel to Make Starship
SpaceX is perhaps best known for its reusable Falcon 9 rocket, the same variety that will be lofting astronauts into out ...
Loading Comments...