On the show today we welcome Professor Henry Greely from Stanford to talk a about the recent developments in the genetic field and particularly the latest controversy around CRISPR technology. Professor Greely is the Director at the Center for Law and Biosciences at Stanford, he’s a Professor of Genetics at the Stanford School of Medicine, and a Chair at the Steering Committee of the Center for Biomedical Ethics.
Inside this episode we get a background on gene-editing and CRISPR technology. Prof. Greely breaks down the basic story of Dr. He Jiankui, a Chinese scientist who conducted a gene-editing experiment with twin babies, causing serious concerns in the scientific community and raising ethical questions. From there we discuss alternatives to CRISPR and ways in which the technology could be utilized more conscientiously in the future. In this context, we will also give some attention to the global position of China and the political landscape. For all this and more be sure to tune in!
Key Points From This Episode:
- An outline of CRSPR and an introduction to today’s conversation on ethics
- What Dr. He Jiankui has reportedly achieved with twin babies in China
- CRISPR controversy: Weighing the risks and benefits of Dr. He’s experiment
- Ways in which germ line editing might be used in the future
- Looking at the germ line editing alternative preimplantation genetic diagnosis
- How CRISPR might be used more ethically and safely
- The far-reaching possible effects of this experiment in China
- The current regulatory landscape of the genetic modification field
- How China fits into the global field of ethics in science
- Looking at a possibly bright future for CRSPR technology
“My sense is he wanted to become famous in the worst possible way and he has become famous in the worst possible way.” — Prof. Henry Greely [0:06:46.6]
“One of the two most basic rules of human subjects research is the risks have to be justified by the potential benefits. The potential benefits have to be high enough to justify the risk you’re taking.” — Prof. Henry Greely [0:07:12.3]
Learn More about CRISPR: Read our article “Understanding DNA, The Human Genome, and the rise of CRISPR” and download our white papers on “The CRISPR Market Opportunity and Key Players” and “The CRISPR IP Landscape”.
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