Gene editing technology is advancing quickly in labs across the United States. However, breakthroughs have prompted a backlash from the public due to ethical concerns. CRISPR, one of the most advanced gene editing technologies, is at the forefront of this criticism. What is CRISPR, and do we have to be worried about it?
What Is CRISPR?
CRISPR is a form of gene editing technology which can allow for much higher precision manipulating genes, compared to older tools. In 2017, CRISPR scientists repaired a genetic mutation that could lead to a heart defect in an embryo. While CRISPR could prevent babies from developing life-threatening conditions, people have raised ethical and medical concerns about the technology.
Many people believe CRISPR could cause damage to cells, namely a cell’s ability to fight cancer. In addition, people are concerned about a world where scientists use CRISPR to “design” babies with certain traits, such as higher athletic abilities or greater intelligence. However, neither of these consequences could occur at this time.
Potential Risks of CRISPR
CRISPR is only in the beginning stages of its development, so it cannot (yet) lead to the post-apocalyptic gene editing visions many people have. However, CRISPR does come with risks. The greatest known risk of CRISPR is known as gene drive or genetic drive.
CRISPR creates genes that can transfer to other organisms. If an embryo who has CRISPR manipulation develops into a human and reproduces, their child will have human-tampered genes. Scientists are unsure what the consequences of this technology are, especially long-term.
Potential risks of genetic drive include:
Have you suffered injuries due to misused CRISPR technology or another form of medical negligence in Washington, DC? You could receive financial compensation for your losses. Contact Regan Zambri Long today to schedule a free case evaluation.