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Sun Dec 8, 2019, 06:10 AM

((Dan Rather)) Gene editing will let us control our very evolution. Will we use it wisely?

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/08/gene-editing-will-let-us-control-our-very-evolution-we-must-use-it-wisely

Gene editing will let us control our very evolution. Will we use it wisely?

Dan Rather

Sun 8 Dec 2019 08.15 GMT

(snip)
When I studied biology in high school, I didnít learn about DNA for a very simple reason. The work of Francis Crick, James Watson, Rosalind Franklin and others who unlocked the structure of the basic code of life was still years away. The idea of engineering human beings? Well, that was firmly the stuff of science fiction, like Aldous Huxleyís dystopian novel Brave New World (published a year after my birth). It seemed as likely as, say, going to the moon.
(snip)

We are living in one of the greatest epochs of human exploration and it will shape our world as profoundly as the age of the transoceanic explorers. It is just that the beachheads on which we are landing and the continents we are mapping comprise a world far too small to see with the naked eye. Some of it is even invisible to our most powerful microscopes.

This brings me to a term that has become a big part of my life over the last few years: Crispr. Perhaps you know of it. Perhaps you donít. When I first heard of it, I thought it might be a new brand of toaster. I now know itís an extremely powerful tool for editing genes in seemingly any organism on Earth, including humans. Scientists doing basic research have been uncovering the mechanisms of life for decades. They have been creating tools for modifying individual genes but Crispr is one of those revolutions where what researchers thought might be possible in the distant horizon is suddenly available now. Itís cheap, itís relatively simple and itís remarkably precise.

I immediately knew that this was a story that needed telling. Human Nature, the resulting film Ė full disclosure, I am executive producer Ė came out of our conversations with scientists. They tend not to be the type of people who hype things but when they talk about Crispr you can feel the urgency in their voices. This is something you need to know about. All of you. If you are worried about your health or the health of your children. If you are concerned about how we might need to engineer our planet in the face of the climate crisis. If you are in finance, law or the world of tech. This will shape all of it.

And as we grapple with the unintended consequences of the internet and social media, as we try to make progress against a heating planet, I humbly submit that we as a species tend not to be good at thinking through where we are going until a crisis is already upon us. I fervently hope with Crispr that we can start the conversation sooner. That we can start it now. Thatís why we made the film.
(snip)

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Reply ((Dan Rather)) Gene editing will let us control our very evolution. Will we use it wisely? (Original post)
nitpicker Dec 8 OP
Xipe Totec Dec 8 #1
WhiteTara Dec 8 #3
ck4829 Dec 8 #2

Response to nitpicker (Original post)

Sun Dec 8, 2019, 07:05 AM

1. James P. Hogan wrote a sci-fi novel about this - The Gentle Giants of Ganymede

The race, which lived on Titan, edits its genes into extinction.

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Response to Xipe Totec (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 8, 2019, 10:08 AM

3. we're just thrashing our way to extinction instead

I see this as another horror. Edit genes, euthanize anyone who doesn't edit in the way society wants it to behave.

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Response to nitpicker (Original post)

Sun Dec 8, 2019, 09:13 AM

2. It should be primarily for getting rid of inherited diseases and equally important...

Be there to everyone regardless of class or nationality.

Straying from that could be disastrous for us as a species.

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