The CRISP(ie)R Side of Science

For those of you with and interest in genetics and genetic engineering, you know that the CRISPR-Cas9 system has rocked the world of modern gene editing (in a great way). For those of you without a special interest in genetics or who haven’t talked about DNA since middle school science class, this is an incredibly simple and efficient way to alter the genes of animal models in biomedical research to better understand human physiology and disease. I defer further explanation of this topic to Jennifer Doudna, a front-runner in the recent creation of this technology, who gives a great summary (no matter your genetic background) of the system in her TED talk, “We can now edit our DNA. But let’s do it wisely.” You can pick up from her title that there are serious ethical considerations that come in to play when we consider the use of this technology beyond animal models for potential human therapies. While this issue is certainly interesting enough in itself, it reminds us of the deeply intertwined relationship of science and ethics that has presented itself in history time and time again and will assuredly be present in future research. The video is posted below, and is a great use of 15 minutes of downtime, if you find you have some today.




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