CRISPR-Cas9, Rejoice or Panic?

CRISPR-Cas9 successfully eliminated a genetic illness from an embryo. Now everyone is either celebrating a massive success or in total panic.

Source – Scientists for the first time have successfully edited genes in human embryos to repair a common and serious disease-causing mutation, producing apparently healthy embryos, according to a study published on Wednesday.

The research marks a major milestone and, while a long way from clinical use, it raises the prospect that gene editing may one day protect babies from a variety of hereditary conditions.

But the achievement is also an example of human genetic engineering, once feared and unthinkable, and is sure to renew ethical concerns that some might try to design babies with certain traits, like greater intelligence or athleticism.

This is pretty cool. CRISPR is here to stay whether we like it or not, and I, personally, am all in on this. The gene-editing tool has some pretty amazing potential to eliminate a number of genetic illnesses (as we just learned), as well as maybe even help people already living with genetic illness (maybe CF is one of them!).

Now, while this is all way down the road, I’m talking decades with an S, I think it’s okay to get excited about it.

I don’t think I’d be the first person to jump in the old CRISPR machine and get CRISPR’d, but I think it would be awesome to see just what kind of relief it can bring to people living with genetic illness. Someone else needs to go first.

Of course the fun police is here, though. This is why we can’t have nice things. People are out here all concerned about some of the unintended consequences we may have with this technology. Designer babies, genetically engineered viruses, you know, shit like that.

Honestly, if people want to design their babies, then have at it. Blue eyes, green eyes or brown eyes, who cares, and really, who am I to stop them? Who is the authority to say what is right or wrong here? That would kind of be like giving someone an Xbox and telling him that he could only use it to listen to music. Unleash the beast!

CFTR gene, eye color gene – it’s the same story, just a different chapter.

I certainly don’t think people should be trying to wipe out 95% of the human population with some super virus, but I’d like to think that human nature is generally pretty good, which the exception of a few horrifyingly evil people out there.

Maybe I’ll become an obsolete human being one day, maybe I won’t? Maybe it’ll be like the iPhone and we’ll get a different version of humanity every few years. I think that’s pretty cool.

Look, in all seriousness, I think this is an incredible scientific breakthrough, one that has potential on an unfathomable level. It’s either going to save us or kill us all, and we get to sit in the passenger seat of that car going a billion miles per hour!

What do you think of CRISPR-Cas9?