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October 3, 2021

CRISPR: The future or undoing of humanity? with Walter Issaacson
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Up next ►► The Ethics of Changing Human DNA Via Gene Editing, with Siddhartha Mukherjee youtube.com/watch?v=VSy8KVXRgKM

The idea of gene editing was once a thing of the future - but today it’s saving the lives of people all over the world. CRISPR is a gene editing system that bacteria has been using for a billion years. When a virus attacks your body, this system takes a ‘mug shot,’ and wraps the virus into the code. If the same virus ever attacks again, your body now know’s to ‘cut off’ the virus before it can cause harm.

But accompanied with 21st century tech, that’s no longer all gene editing technologies, like CRISPR, can do. Scientists have since learned how to repurpose this system so we’re not only killing off dangerous bacteria, but also cutting the own DNA, wherever we tell it to, to edit the genes.

Is gene editing something we need to worry about? Some scientists think so. If we move too fast and over indulge in this technology, it’s possible that we could be making permanent changes to the human species. But as of today, CRISPR is being used for good - editing genes in the people living with chronic diseases, helping patients around the world live healthy, normal lives.

Read the video transcript: bigthink.com/videos/gene-editing-technology


About Walter Isaacson:
Walter Isaacson is a renowned biographer, CEO of the Aspen Institute, and previously the chairman of CNN and managing editor of TIME magazine. He is the author of Einstein: His Life and Universe, Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made, Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, Steve Jobs, and most recently Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution.


Read more of the stories on gene editing technology:
Just how useful is human gene editing?
►► bigthink.com/health/useful-crispr-human-gene-editing/
Meet Dr. Jennifer Doudna: she’s leading the biotech revolution
►► bigthink.com/health/jennifer-doudna-biotech-revolution-crispr/
CRISPR therapy cures first genetic disorder inside the body
►► bigthink.com/health/crispr-therapy-cures-genetic-disorder/


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