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CRISPR and the gene-editing revolution

CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. You don't have to remember that, but you should know that this new gene editing technique can literally change life as we know it. Through CRISPR, scientists are now able to precisely edit DNA sequences in living things. They hope to be able to cure genetic diseases like sickle cell anemia and hereditary blindness. CRISPR may even be used to treat cancer and HIV. There's a darker side to CRISPR. What about engineering soldiers who can fight without fear or pain? Many argue that using CRISPR technology—for good or bad—amounts to playing God and that its use should be halted altogether. Others, like the World Health Organization, see enormous potential for the science but want to put limits on its application to prevent humanity from bringing out our own worst traits. Ian Bremmer explains what we know and don't know about the brave new world of gene editing.

Watch the episode: CRISPR gene editing and the human race

CRISPR gene editing and the human race

Berkeley scientist Jennifer Doudna won the 2020 Nobel Prize for her work on the revolutionary gene-editing technology known as CRISPR. It has the potential to cure genetic diseases like sickle cell anemia and hereditary blindness and may even be used to treat cancer and HIV. But when it comes to editing humanity, where do we draw the line? How do we avoid falling into the same kind of dystopian nightmare outlined in Blade Runner? Doudna discussed the risks and benefits of CRISPR in an interview with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World. Also in this episode: a look at cloning our pets (speaking of going too far…).

Podcast: Gene editing tech risks and rewards: Dr. Jennifer Doudna's perspective

Listen: In a wide-ranging interview with Ian Bremmer, Nobel Prize-winning scientist Jennifer Doudna discusses her groundbreaking work on the revolutionary gene-editing technology known as CRISPR. In their conversation she explains what CRISPR is and why it has the potential to cure diseases and fend off viruses. She also talks about the limits of this technology and advocates for a global policy consensus on what limitations there should be around gene editing. Policymakers must also factor in income inequality, Doudna argues, given how expensive CRISPR currently is and the potential it has to change so many lives.

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CRISPR gene-editing tech should have limits, says Nobel laureate Jennifer Doudna

For Jennifer Doudna, who won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her work on CRISPR gene editing, there are some red lines we shouldn't cross (yet). The technology, she says, has "the potential to do incredible things and make incredible advances that will be beneficial to our society, but hand-in-hand with that go these large risks." One is human embryos, but that doesn't mean that in the future we shouldn't be able to use CRISPR on ourselves, for instance to protect us from diseases. Watch her interview with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

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