It was bound to happen sooner or later. CRISPR^, the acronym associated with a major breakthrough in genetic engineering has just brought us much closer to being able to perform arbitrary changes in living organisms. This is important because it may bring us closer to finding cures for thousands of diseases, create anti-aging treatments and even change features in our unborn children.
Below, you will find more information along with an easy to understand video about bioengineering and a future the use of CRISPR might create.
I found the video to be a bit on the wishful thinking side. Some years ago we thought very highly about mapping the human genome but the results were seriously below optimists’ expectations. While CRISPR is definitely a step forward in our knowledge about the building blocks* of life, using this knowledge is much more complex than a video-cartoon would like to illustrate.
I sometimes feel that these videos bank on our wishful thinking. Even worse, they tend to play down the serious ethical concerns resulting from some of the proposed advances (they claim that we already perform pre-selection of fetuses so why not go further? To me, that’s like saying that using a nuclear bomb is fine if we already used a pistol). Will a poor family in Africa afford to genetically improve their children? Also, let’s not forget that our medicine is still quite primitive and life is not actually made of “building blocks”. It’s all much more complex than that.