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GENE-IE’S OUT OF THE BOTTLE

GENE-IE’S OUT OF THE BOTTLE

Last week, a Chinese scientist sparked an uproar when he claimed that a woman had given birth to two babies whose DNA he had modified using an experimental gene-editing technology called CRISPR.


Here's a quick the rundown on why this is a big deal, politically.

What happened? The Chinese scientist, He Jiankiu, used CRISPR, a cheap, precise, and widely available DNA-editing technique, to change the genes of two human embryos before implanting them in their mother's womb. CRISPR had previously only been used in plant and animal experiments, on adult cancer patients, or non-viable human embryos. Its use to create gene-modified babies has sparked outrage and alarm.

What's the political angle? Internationally, governments and the private sector are excited about CRISPR, which could revolutionize agriculture and the treatment of disease by enabling edits to organisms' genes. Yet even before last week's news, some people worried that the same technology could be prone to ecological accidents, or be used by governments or terrorists to create new bio-weapons.

He's experiments, which were apparently carried out without basic oversight, will reinforce those concerns. It might eventually be possible to create human beings with improved intelligence, longer lifespans, or other genetic enhancements – a trend that would raise serious ethical issues, and could even inflame political tensions between countries that have conflicting views about which types of genetic changes should be allowed.

What's the upshot? Assuming the scientist's claims hold up to scrutiny, the world of custom-designed humans is no longer a far-off sci-fi fantasy, it's happening now. Questions about how to safely and ethically manage this revolution just took on new urgency.

Empathy and listening are key to establishing harmonious relationships, as demonstrated by Callista Azogu, GM of Human Resources & Organization for Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), an Eni subsidiary in Abuja. "To build trust is very difficult. To destroy it is very easy," says Callista, whose busy days involve everything from personnel issues to union relationships. She sees great potential for her native Nigeria not only because of the country's natural resources, but because of its vibrant and creative people.

Learn more about Callista in this episode of Faces of Eni.

Saturday will mark the beginning of an historic turning point for European politics as 1,001 voting members of Germany's Christian Democratic Union, the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, hold an online conference to elect a new leader.

Here are the basic facts:

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Joe Biden wants to move into the White House, but the coast isn't clear. He may need some bleach.

Watch more PUPPET REGIME here.

If former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson could give incoming Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas advice, what would it be? "Well, first I would say, 'Ali, I'm glad it's you, not me.'" His conversation with Ian Bremmer was part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Listen: For the first time in twenty years extreme poverty around the world is growing. How does the developing world recover from a pandemic that has brought even the richest nations to their knees? David Malpass, the President of the World Bank, is tasked with answering that question. He joins Ian Bremmer on the podcast to talk about how his organization is trying to keep the developing world from slipping further into poverty in the wake of a once-in-a-century pandemic.

The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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