Who created the tool of genetic editing? Meet Jennifer Doudna, one of the co creates of the tool CRISPR/Cas9 the genome editing tool that is already in full effect. Before we begin on the details of this amazing breakthrough lets recap our last discussion. In the previous video, we went over the basic element of genetic modification and I laid out the foundational use of CRISPR/Cas9 which we have explained allows certain genes to be cut and other genes to be inserted into that spot. The basics for this use to to combat different diseases and issues that we would want to combat. However, Dr. Doudna explains how this is not the end of the possibility of this device. We could make a person taller, bones stronger, change their hair or skin color, by adjusting the genes when the child is still an embryo.
This sounds pretty neat right? But when will this technology be able to make those adjustments to humans? Well the problem as Dr. Doudna explains in the video above that we have the tool but do not necessarily know the instructions or the full range of the tool. The scenario we are currently at is like putting together a pieces of a puzzle with a blindfold on. While the task may seem impossible at first the more we become familiar with the pieces (genes) then we start to understand how each piece interacts with one another.
Dr. Doudna explains that we have been able to learn alot from CRISPR/Cas9 but we have a long way to go. But her final point is what we will be covering in the next post. What are some of the social and ethical implication? What unintended consequences are coming from the use of this device? What can we do now to ensure society can be safe from itself?