MUTANT MENU  |  The Ethics of Gene Editing
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MUTANT MENU | The Ethics of Gene Editing

I’ve built a career out of sharing science news and looking into new discoveries. So when I read that it’s now possible to edit our genes, the very fabric of what makes us who we are, I was captivated. I’ve become determined to find out how this genetic revolution could change our lives. Could there be a future where it’s as easy as ordering genetic modifications from a menu? Like stronger bones, or a disease-free body? And if you could, would you design your DNA? Do the benefits outweigh the risks? I’m off to explore if we should be “playing God”. Just because we could choose from a mutant menu, does that make gene editing right? Just considering it’s use raises so many tough ethical questions. I want to start a wider conversation, so I’ve gathered a group of informed citizens to see what they would do. Would you edit your own genes? I would love to get rid of my lactose intolerance. I would love that. I’d love to be able to eat ice cream and not worry if I have a lactate. At this point, sure. I’m getting old, my joints are starting to hurt I’m in ways that I never thought they would and if I want to continue to be physically active I would love to be able to do stuff that allows me to do that. I probably wouldn’t. That would be so boring, wouldn’t it? I’d really like to be a tetrachromat. These are people who could see more colors than the usual people. I’d really like that. Yeah I would definitely do that. No no. I don’t think I would. To me that’s an obvious thing, you know. I think having just having extra decades of useful, healthy life. We develop our professional skills and and some small amount of wisdom, and being able to apply that for a little bit longer I think would be powerful. I don’t know I really don’t know. Should people be able to do that? I think that the option should be available. I don’t feel qualified to say, “here’s what you should do with your own body.” If you could choose any aesthetic improvements for yourself, what would they be? Well if I answer that question that would bring attention to my flaws. So removing what we see as flaws with genetic engineering is nothing new. Weeds have become wheat, our tomatoes are sweet and juicy and even our dogs are hypoallergenic. But it takes generations to refine these beneficial traits. Gene editing allows us to fast-track this process by tweaking the DNA of every living thing. And a new breakthrough technology called CRISPR-cas9, or CRISPR for short, promises to do this more cheaply and accurately than ever before. So what is CRISPR? CRISPR-cas9, which stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats is a new gene editing tool that allows us to tweak DNA in all living things. CRISPR was discovered in bacteria as a way they identify and destroy invading viruses. And to edit DNA, scientists have now repurposed what’s like a tiny, programmable molecular scalpel to cut at precise locations in the genetic code. And then DNA is provided and pasted in to repair that cut. And just like that, mozzie, fish or your DNA has been edited. And since this technology has global implications, I’m traveling around the world, meeting experts, to find out what these implications might be. Are we in the DNA revolution? Yeah I’m pretty sure. Will CRISPR change everything? Definitely CRISPR will change our lives. We’re here to meet Jin-Soo Kim, he’s a gene editing pioneer and he’s using this CRISPR technique to try and save the banana and also to develop super muscular pigs. It could solve a food supply problem, but it seems kinda weird. I don’t know if I want to eat that pork and I really like pork buns. I’m interested to know if you’re using CRISPR to save the banana? The banana is on the verge of extinction because of fungal diseases. All the banana is genetically identical. You know, Cavendish bananas. So, you know, the single pathogen can kill every banana on Earth. And then now we try to make banana that is resistant to the fungus. So we can just change one gene at a time, there are some candidate genes, and then fungus cannot infect. That’s the idea. So it is like surgery, right? If you have some defective gene with fatal phenotype, then you can now use CRISPR to correct the defect. And CRISPR is being used to enhance our food as well as correct defects. With an ever increasing population, especially in Asia, scientists are getting creative about bulking up what we eat. We create super-muscular pig by just mutating a single gene called the myostatin. So myostatin actually inhibit muscle growth and differentiation. So we knock out myostatin gene and then the pigs have super muscles. So like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but in a pig? Exactly. The pig will provide the lean meat, with a high protein content and low fat content and it could fit healthy diet for many people. So CRISPR is making the genetic engineering of everything faster, cheaper and more accurate. Its potential is enormous and in some places it’s becoming a reality. So the difference is, you know, whether nature makes it or scientist makes it. Nature can make it, but randomly, so if you just screen 1 million individual and there is a one variant, one mutant with supermuscle phenotype. So to find it, you know, it will take a lot of time and resource. But with this tool, CRISPR-cas9 or other genome editing tools, now you can do it in one or two years. However you feel about the Schwarzenegger pigs, they’re just one way way we can hack evolution for our benefit. More gene-editing pioneers are pushing the boundaries of the revolution, using CRISPR to create, well, just about anything. We’re off to Harvard Medical School to speak with George Church about the wild possibilities of gene editing, like the extinction of species. If anyone’s going to push further in the field, it’s him. We’re definitely in a DNA revolution of both reading and writing genomes and it’s much, much bigger than editing, editing is bigger than CRISPR and gene therapies bigger than editing and the revolution is much bigger than any of those. Professor Church published one of the first methods from nothing our genome he more or less invented modern DNA sequencing why is everyone so excited about Chris well yeah you know even though my team was one of the inventing teams I’m mystified the why people are so excited about it I think it has cool name as cool personalities involved and some cool projects that were enabled by a whole revolution in reading and writing genomes in general not just editing but writing and I think it’s just a little more efficient and the church lab is using CRISPR to try and solve some of Medicine’s biggest problems tell me about the the pig organs that you were human izing so one of the health crises in the world has all has been ever since transplantation worked is there not enough donors so a solution is to either grow the organs in the lab which is potentially expensive or to grow them in an animal that’s well masters of the pig this is recognized three decades ago has all perfectly sized organs and there have been some transplants that worked in in primates for short periods of time but they need to be they need to be crafted so that their composition is compatible with the human recipient so you’re using genetic engineering to humanize these older them so people won’t project it’s something that would have been very difficult a few years ago but with CRISPR and other parts of the revolution we can we now make tens of changes hundreds of changes as needed to make a pig this very that could be long-term compatible with less and less immune suppression needed never before have you been able to avoid me a suppression by engineering the donor and finally and it’s still hard to engineer a human donor but sew it on eclis the pig could end up being a better donor than a human because in engineering as well as growing organs in pigs the human donation church is working towards making animals like the woolly mammoth de-extinction elephant so they can again roam the tundra something they’re insulating snow and keeping greenhouse gases locked up in the frozen soil could it crispy give us unicorn so we’re getting creative now so there are examples of animals that have single horns in the middle so like the rhinoceros has one and it snows but there are other ancient right answers that have it in the middle of the head so anyway I think that you could get a single horn on a horse by looking at horns and other species so open the realm of possibility yes now I mean I took that sounds cool I devil in science fiction a lot of science lecture is now becoming science fact I mean things that really seemed either unimaginable to the unimaginative is now routine and they forgot that it used to be unimaginable do you think we’ll get to a point where CRISPR is in vogue and people want to edit their genes well it’s already in vogue in a certain sense think about it in the media day would it be – television shows and so forth but yeah in terms of in vogue you would do it well so I know of two people who have already done gene therapies on themselves without you know not without going to the usual channels well CRISPR change everything I think the genetic revolution including CRISPR will change everything so in this genetic revolution who decides if we should be editing our DNA from lawyers to scientists we’re not really sure regulations haven’t caught up with reality a few months ago I saw a press release from a Swedish plant scientist who could groin in even vegetable the episode with the CRISPR technique just because he could rather he couldn’t Sweden elsewhere in Europe it would require government approval Steffan Jensen drew attention to the oddities of the current law that with his prefer Edison vegetables I’m very excited to see your crisper vegetable what have you brought for us hmm yeah comes down there yeah let’s see let’s see I want to see and here is some actually got the chrome extends in about 50 up today you know yeah I’m not really big okay I mean they look beautiful to me Stefan has gone to great lengths to grow this cabbage I’m planning on becoming one of the first people to eat crisper edited vegetables I made holidays how are they are they different to a normal vegetables the only thing that they’re different they are lacking a little piece or one gene I believe that you smuggled these seeds into Sweden from another country why are they yeah yeah yes or smugglers market oh I got them from other country do it yeah okay but why why couldn’t this be grown outside of Sweden because Sweden is the only country Europe that have taken the decision or made their own interpretation of the European law about genetically modified clams they said well if you only do it in this way if you only take some DNA away if you don’t add anything then according to their interpretation this is not the Devo because if you don’t add that thing it also means that they can’t detect it so do you think that this is genetically modified well that’s what is it what is uniquely modified that’s that’s the problem it’s electrically modified is something which are different in different genetic combinations for what’s their nature cause everything with genetically modified because with unclamp reading for millennia and we have a very significant change begin to sort of everything everything we eat I mean whatever ways even if we took a potato zeroes on it anything is very different from the natural counterparts well I’ll make sure that I don’t eat too much of it I mean we have some reindeer luckily we have some other things to go with it so look I bought you some reindeer it is a reindeer hard because I thought that’s probably the most swedish thing ever and we have got so we have a reindeer heart and we have some horseradish to go with that we have some potatoes as well crispy crispy cabbage there we go our personal thing okay this is mum me number five until them it’s crisp and real number five in the world in the world okay I think it’s somewhat a historic event and the only that it being cooked internationally so I’m the first international guests to eat your Chris cooking okay great well I feel like that’s a historic event so how do you how do you say Bon Appetit in Swedish Vasa who’s boss good Varsha good Barcia good dig in a few so I’m about to put crisper modified food in my body let’s see how this goes just tastes like normal cabbage crisper could lead to the unimaginable Stepan publicized his crisper cabbage to highlight the gap between what science can do and what we think we ought to do do you think we’re playing God or manipulating nature by genetically modifying things like plants answer you well no I mean first of all we’re part of nature so we are constantly being manipulated by our natural environment and we’re manipulating back that there’s nothing sort of godlike about that the benefits are also potentially massive I mean you know feeding the world curing all congenital diseases so playing God in a good way I think that’s one of those things which is a very polarizing use of words it’s not suddenly we have this one technology which suddenly is the god technology I think is an evolution over time like humans build on knowledge and build on technology how is it different when we manipulate plants over manipulating humans so I think for humans because we do whilst biologically we’re the same as any other creature but there’s any other animal we’re all made from the same stuff but we give ourselves special these rules that apply to humans they don’t apply to anyone else we generally recognize that there’s something special about us humans and so I think that because we have these ethical rules if we were genetically modifying humans we would start to come up against those rules who gets the right to choose whether we added our genes or not yeah I mean I would go start with personal so I think it should be I think it should be personal it should be you should be for you for you me serve you it’s all of us and when I mean that that’s all of us and the problem is that it can’t just be scientists who work on the technology and it can’t just be politicians in a corner you know deciding and it can’t just be the public I think all of those people have to get together in order to be cautiously optimistic we have to really think about what we’re doing and not shy away from because we’re scared of crazy mutants happening but like tackle the problem head-on and really be honest about what we can and can’t do and what we should or shouldn’t do as long as we know what we’re doing and not just dive in without checking for unforeseen consequences of seeing that the thing is we don’t know all of the unforeseen consequences would you risk your health or your child health to potentially benefit from gene-editing how deep we dive it becomes a big ethical consideration I’m on my way to Melbourne to talk to bioethicists Rachel Anthony about ethics and the genetic revolution I see myself not as necessarily telling people what to do but helping people think through the implications of decisions they might make so you’re a professional thought provoker I hope so your vegetable thought provoker hands up clarifier question Oscar concept clarifier and revive giver exactly what do you see as the range of ethical questions that I should be asking people modifying the genome is such isn’t in itself I think for most people a major ethical issue it’s the purposes for which is going to be deployed who’s going to benefit what kind of safeguards are in place to make sure that it’s safe and effective before it actually is used either in an external setting in the case of agriculture or pests or you’re thinking you know as an individual the kinds of things if you had a child who had a condition or you knew you were at risk to pass on something would be you know is the risk of those kind of unanticipated consequences worth the potential benefit is there a place where you will say this is a good spot for the benefits outweigh outweighed the risk people are generally much more open if it’s a biomedical kind of intervention if it’s something that’s going to cure a disease that’s quite severe people are willing to take a little more risk because the benefit is so great if it’s the kind of intervention that simply is going to create more profit they’re much less interested because they don’t see the benefit is who decides how much risk we take often companies hold the rights to technologies like CRISPR so it’s their moral compass which can set the boundaries I first heard about CRISPR actually taking a test my first year of graduate school so I was really lucky to be in the early wave of people who were starting to jump into the field I think the impact that it will have on both healthcare and food is fundamental where in Silicon Valley whether the growing number of biotech startups hoping to commercialize technologies just like Christmas one of them is caribou Biosciences which was born out of one of the labs where the CRISPR technique was developed what’s the role of a start-up in terms of looking for novel solutions to a problem or to trying to make money for the initial investment for us obviously we’re a company and we have obligations to our investors and to our shareholders but we’re also very ethically driven by how and where this technology should be used obviously there are a lot of conversations around some of the potential uses for editing the human germline for example and we feel very strongly that that’s an inappropriate use of the technology so you guys think we should edit the human done we don’t why is that if you’re starting with a human embryo a single cell that’s going to turn into every cell in that person’s body any mistakes get propagated across the entire body we simply don’t know enough yet to feel that that would be safe or fair to that person to treat their their very first cell in that way the human germline is the DNA you pass on to your children it’s not affected by gene therapy but if we do choose to edit eggs sperm or a single fertilized cell will not only alter the resulting baby but the DNA of every one of their descendants forever and ever and if that’s not enough to give you pause it’s also a real challenge it’s not one gene one outcome it’s tens hundreds of genes that all work together to make you a tall or short as you are or your hair color or your eye color or your intelligence and so it’s not as simple as one tiny change and it has a very significant or specific impact on someone what is the social cost something like genetic engineering could have lead to more inequality it’s a great question I mean I think it’s a fundamental question that comes with all drugs the cost of drugs obviously is something that’s talked about extensively in the United States right now I think one of the arguments that’s frequently put forward by the the drug development world is the cost it actually takes to get these new drugs to market and so you you have that compared against sort of the social desire to help cure all of these patients or treat elevate patients regardless of their socioeconomic status is a fundamental challenge for medicine will it create more inequality absolutely absolutely good I think that’s why we have to be be very specific and careful important about like how we’re doing research and who’s funding it and how that actually gets availed to the public so it’s not just like a super class of people that are really rich being able to modify themselves for their own benefits it is definitely a fear that I have I don’t know that I can say that it definitely will but being the thing that strikes me is as a possibility in most medical research it’s mostly based on the majority population and so what if minority groups are sort of left behind concerns about accessibility to the genetic revolution are real but can we really ignore a way to cure disease there’s so many people there is benefit to having a genome that is mutable because without it we wouldn’t be here so we know evolution so we’re all mutants in a way we we are there is no normal dr. Edelin runs a genetic testing program for prospective parents at Mount Sinai Hospital it’s a way we currently screen for genetic disease to minimize the chance of passing it on to our children there are roughly 4,000 genes in the human genome that haven’t have some connection or association to disease in a genetic test in particular a carrier screen we’re assessing a person risk of having a child born with a genetic disorder so we’re testing their their DNA their genome and looking for mutations that would cause disease I’m imagining that you have a room that’s just full of people spit here yeah visiting room yeah this is the extraction a lot of the hype with CRISPR has been around editing human genes and not everyone thinks we should do that but the reality is gene editing can help those with diseases do you think that carrier screening is a more effective way to control genetic diseases than using CRISPR would be at the moment yes there are very few genetic diseases with cures at the moment CRISPR really isn’t being used to cure many genetic diseases but it is imaginable Crysta is being used to treat patients with cancer and trials using CRISPR to correct genetic disorder can’t be far off do you think we’ll get to a point where genetic engineering is widely accepted where we could use CRISPR in people I think that if it’s going to cure a disease I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t be widely accepted when a lot of people talk about CRISPR in the media they also talk about designer babies do you think it’s realistic that something like CRISPR could be used to design a baby so I think for designer babies we need to understand a lot more about the genome than we do and you know I don’t consider carrier screening designer baby because you’re you’re really trying to avoid genetic disorder in your in in your offspring but as far as I color you know athletic ability all of those things I think that’s something for the future we’ll see where society goes with that if you are having a child and you could pick out diseases from them like if you could design your child’s genes and you could say I don’t want my child to have all of these diseases what would you choose but I think that’s really that’s a hard question I’m so glad you asked the question that way because that’s a psychologist like our minds are so different when we’re talking in the abstract versus my kids right we suddenly become totally selfish when it comes to my kids and in general I can be like that idea like we don’t want the whole world living long I want my kids living long yeah I don’t want them to be sick if I knew that my child was at high risk for specific diseases and I probably would want to do that I mean yes I would take them out to find you though there I’ve actually chosen not to have children but a part of my decision is the self-knowledge that I wouldn’t I don’t think I have what it takes to take care of a child who would need care for life because they were disabled in some way and that’s something that can happen and and if there was a way with genetic editing to know for sure that that wasn’t going to be an a problem a concern then maybe that would change my decisions a child born with a genetic disease doesn’t have exactly think all your life as others in that case I think if we can fix it why not that that’s the ultimate cure then the question becomes how far do we go eliminating diabetes eliminating obesity but what about autism and what about ADHD curing genetic disease in humans is about removing unwanted mutations but how far do we go we might all want to use CRISPR as a fast cheap way of turning ourselves into superhumans we discovered genetic superhumans who accumulate less cholesterol others are almost diabetes proof and some have stronger bones they’re all due to these beneficial mutations that you one day might want to edit into your genes but this is still reliant on us knowing where to edit our DNA finding people with good mutations can show us exactly where those beneficial genes are that’s a good question there are probably in a medical research institute at a hospital normally we would talk about sickness and disease right but you’re a guy who’s all about wellness and so loud in here yes what a supercomputer sounds like we believe that medical research has missed a large segment of really important people that we feel like a really interesting study and those are people who should be sick but somehow they’ve escaped here Mount Sinai there’s also a resilience project it’s looking for healthy genetic mutations that people carry that protect us against disease and so to find them the first thing that we can do is go out and just ask people about what they believe they might match some pattern of resilience the other way that we can go is if somebody doesn’t have any evidence that the resilient per se that we can make start with their genome and look in their genome for severe risk factors for disease and then zoom up to the person and see if they lack typical signs and symptoms of that disease to find genetic superhuman this through the computer turns through healthy people DNA to find genetic mutations that protect them against disease when you identify these genetic superpowers all these beneficial mutations did it it’s possible that someone like me could get those edited into my genome well I suppose I think I think I sort of depends on what time scale that you’re talking about I think that there are a lot of different ways that this information could ultimately be turned into new medicines and I think like you know editing humans is something or editing their DNA is something there’s a lot of work to do yet around figuring out whether or not it’s safe and what areas that we can actually have you know good effects for people if genetics superpowers a long way off what can you do right now to drive the genetic revolution speeding things up may lie in more democratized science think DIY and out of a garage like the humble beginnings of Apple Facebook or uber but for your genome so it started when I worked at NASA I was a scientist at NASA and their synthetic biology program and I thought what happens if people at home can start to contribute to science and what technology would really get people excited to start to do genetic design in their home and I thought wow it’s probably CRISPR allow me so far we’ve painted labs and universities and hospitals around the world where you might expect to find cutting-edge science here in the Bay Area we’re visiting a bio hacker in his garage he’s selling CRISPR kids DIY Krista kits for a couple of hundred dollars one of the big questions is how do you create something that’s tangible using like genetic design that people can use so we thought well what is you know something that we use or do often that uses some sort of organism that we can engineer it the obvious thing is fermentation like making alcohol what’s so special about the yeast that you have engineered so oh so the yeast that we use it’s just a normal Burnie so you could buy from any company online anywhere the cool thing that our kit allows people to do and it’s our first kit of many this makes the yeast glow so what you’re going to look for is you’re going to see a glow on there if they’re harmful to me the youth yeah oh no I mean you use like the green fluorescent protein oh no not at all it’s not that the bacteria and or anything in any of our kits is hazardous or could cause harm everything in it is completely non hazardous can not cause harm at all when you think about like the computer revolution and how that changed everything it wasn’t until that they came into homes and people personally had them that the computer revolution like exploded so I think investing in consumers is kind of what Spurs everything you can buy this cutting-edge kit that allows you to use this technology and you don’t need anything else you don’t need a PhD and you could do experiments with CRISPR like that I think is is really cool and it shows the direction that the world is like going in genetic technology genetic designs it should we try something sugar Detroit Oh yeah there’s always a chance that there’s going to be a renegade scientist or renegade person editing the genetic code but you know as a species I think we’ve got to really be informed as educated so that we can make good decisions what happens when we start experimenting with our genes and we might create these aesthetic differences will these humans be seen as different than humans who don’t have those modifications could that lead to eugenics could that lead to new divides in humanity I don’t know that stuff is that stuff scary I think that when you’re talking about genetic modifications like that to yourself you have to accept that almost nothing is risk or cost free and there’s always a trade-off and you have to think ahead and most of us don’t really think ahead it’s really hard to plan even for next year we’ve been playing God with our health from transplanting organs and a lot of the fears that people had with that what we’re doing over here and sort of get used to it I think that’s one of the things here about about all of this is there’s a lot of outcry and a lot of concern and a lot of fear and then we sort of get used to it we ditch away to it and I think a very similar thing is going to happen with altering genomes of humans so everything our DNA is technically possible but it’s unwise and untested clinical trials using CRISPR are happening right now as knowledge grows and risk declines the extraordinary becomes commonplace we are undeniably in the middle of a genetic revolution the technology to change us is already here and well you need to decide how the rest of the revolution plays out if we know right now what we want to improve repair or preserve having a conversation about editing our DNA none of our future in a better direction we’re in the process of improving testing and retesting these technologies until the line between science fiction and science facts will no longer be a question of scientific limit but a matter of choice would you like to place an order

100 thoughts on “MUTANT MENU | The Ethics of Gene Editing

  1. Great investigation work, editing and interviews.
    I am sure this was a great and unforgettable experience.
    Waiting for new ones )

  2. I would design my DNA. Yes, I believe anyone should have the opportunity to be happy and should be able to change their DNA.

  3. Who has the right to choose whether we edit our genes or not?

    The question is, will we even know if corporations, such as Monsanto, are tampering and manipulating with our genes by creating their GMO crop seeds that are in almost all types of food today?

    As for curing diseases, what undesirable cultural aspects will be added to the disease list for removal? Will gay/lesbian aspects be engineered out of existence? What about various skin tones? Or replacing rebellious genes with obedient genes?

  4. if i were to have childen id do anything i could to lessen unnessery pain, body or mind, cursed on them, or by them. 🙂

  5. What she mentioned at the very beginning is not so far fetched. I've been cooking professionally for 18 years and having numerous vendors to select from, I have the opportunity to select product that has been refined naturally in certain ways. Certain refinements are as simple as pork having fattier belly or more meaty belly depending on the application. Certain lamb for shanks may have a thicker or thinner bone depending it's application as well. This technology is pretty incredible but it has immense flaws, especially the obvious… depending on who's hands are developing and using gateways such as CRISPR.

  6. I’m a little late to the discussion so I hope I get heard. The thing that struck me about this presentation is that there was a massive perception and understanding gap when you spoke to DNA researchers and business people. In their abbreviated answers, I felt like you were asking the wrong questions and the appropriate understanding they could shared have was edited out. Other than the Korean PhD, whose banana example is a red herring, the repeated quote that got in was “we don’t know enough yet.” On that type of inquiry, an area you didn’t address regarding the complexity of the issue was how genes are used at different times to code for very different components of our biology at the same time. The same or overlapping sequences are used for very different parts of our body. From an enthusiast perspective that sounds cool and exciting but from a medical and biological perspective that can be frightening. We know today that illnesses can be caused by a single malfunctioning protein that interrupts a seemingly minor system in our bodies. We may feel ambitious and do a CRISPR on ourselves only to discover that it introduces 12 new problems. The human genome is not like a simple computer program. It has many overlapping components. Areas of our chromosomes researchers once thought were redundant have been discovered to serve important purposes. This is similar to how evolutionary biologists declared various organs and elements of our body on a macro level to be “evolutionary leftovers” but have since been discovered to be essential to the proper functioning of our bodies. An axiom I have heard from medical doctor friends is that you don’t want to start using medicines or do surgery unless absolutely necessary because it will only cause new problems and the solution is temporary at best. The system inherent to our biology is more effective and efficient than any we could design.

    In a more immediate application, reflect on the buzz and marketing of the hip replacement. It was billed as the solution to elderly mobility. It was going to keep the elderly on the move and allow them to be self sufficient until the ends of their lives. The reality is these hip replacements fail and wear out in addition to the multitude of medical complications they add to the recipients’ lives. Editing one’s genes is bound to only have greater unforeseen effects. We don’t need marketing buzz, we need honest, accurate and realistic information about the consequences of this.

    As for the South Korean professor, there are a wide variety of bananas available to substitute. The market is used to the current variety but it is neither the most beautiful nor most tasty. And for your visit to Korea, didn’t you notice that Koreans love fresh, unadulterated foods? Did you get to visit a supermarket while there? The potatoes are sold still coated in dirt because they don’t want the ones brought from the polluted grounds of China. The dirt serves as a sign that they locally grown, imported fruits and vegetables must be free of all dirt and pathogens.

    Overall, your presentation felt like a puff piece. With ending with the bio-hacker and his DIY kits, that was your real purpose not asking and answering different questions surrounding the issues. For those who are really interested in the subject, take some time to go watch the lectures available here on YouTube and get a concrete foundation for what is really happening in this field. Learn about the real limitations versus the fantasy we are fed through the media. I love watching BrainCraft but I have to take what’s shared with a grain of salt because 3 to even 36 minutes is barely enough time to cover the basics. They are however an entertaining way to become familiar with said basics.

    Thanks for another interesting video Vanessa. Your passion and enthusiasm is infectious.

  7. This was a really good video/documentary. I had an interest in genetics back in the mid to late 90's in high school and college, but fell out of it because the technology to make stuff REALLY happen seemed so far off in the future. I guess we've arrived in the future.

  8. so if you make a list, i want my child to be with strong bones, blue eyes, smart, resiliant to desises, atletic…and so on. is it in the end that YOUR CHILD?

  9. Then there is the morality of the large-scale of animal mutation experiments required before testing DNA editing on humans. What role does the suffering of other animals for human "advancement" play in our decision making?

  10. If a pig has human organs, at what point is it no longer a pig?

    Can genetic modifications be used as punishment…?

  11. I don't trust the average consumer to use those kits the guys is selling out of his garage.
    It is likely that individuals with insufficient exrpertise or malicious intent could kill people, introduce diseases into gene pools, harm ecosystems through the introduction of modified individuals and much much more.
    Someone looking to kill someone could, undetected, remove someone's ability to produce an enzyme essential to life(like a digestive enzyme without which the victim could slowly starve) or give them a severe allergy to something they frequently consume, and no one would even suspect it, perhaps considering it a previously dormant disease or mutation which no one could be blamed for, not unless they are caught doing it. Who knows, a determined individual could even use this as a tool for genocide.
    Just a couple of thoughts I had during this part of the video. Makes me wary of what may come.
    They're a bit outlandish but not entirely infeasible.

  12. What an awesome, well-made and fantastic video, great job! Definitely going to show this to my ethics class, keep this amazing content up!

  13. Why not just make non-suffering foods that tastes better than pork instead of fucking with (and then slaughtering) intelligent creatures?

  14. Some people are taking the moral high ground having ALREADY won the gene lottery at birth. I can't say I am really surprised.

    I wonder if their opinion changes after 40y+

  15. It will only benefit to rich people, and help them get even richer, like most technological advances. You know, these movies, which for now are just science fiction, where the rich are immortal or live 10k years, like Timeout and the likes, well guess what, in a century it's not going to be science fiction anymore. The poor will die of disease and slavery, the rich will live hundreds of life time in comfort. Ugly, ugly future ahead. We are already unequal regarding disease and life expectancy, but that's nothing compared to what's coming.

  16. interesting video and a good look at the potential of the science, but I have to say this seems like an extremely privileged perspective on the issue. How can you make a 36 minute video on the ethics of gene editing without a single mention of class?? you repeatedly ask the question 'should "you" edit your genes?' but it seems you failed to contemplate who is included in that "you." The ethics of whether anyone should be able to edit their genome does not boil down to an individual's (hopelessly biased) choice to rid their own children of diseases.

    I'd say this video is simply mis-titled. it strikes me as more of a giddy imagination of the possibilities of gene editing (disease-free super humans, unicorns) than any serious contemplation of the ethical implications it will have on ALL of society.

    Nothing exists in isolation, and while this technology has the potential for many useful applications, it is coming into use in the world that we live in today, not some imagined future society, but our current, unequal, widely corrupt, inefficient and under-represented world. if we want to get serious about ethics we need to ask who will have control over the use of these technologies and who they are likely to benefit.

  17. This is scary. This is so. Fucking. Scary. There are so many ways this seems unethical to do, yet so many ways it seems unethical if you don't persue Crispr. Yes, I get these can help so much to benefit people with diseases, but I just can't get behind it. I'm unprivileged in so many ways. I believe the big 5 for privlidge is are you a straight, cis, white, able-bodied male. I'm a pansexual, genderqueer, black and mexican, able-bodied demigirl. I fit 1/5. Knowing that you could potentially create designer babies and kill off poc, queer people, disabled people? It's giving us the possibility to create a super race. These are the main 3 categories that have little good representation, and by editing them out you're making them more of an outcast than they all ready are. And sure, you say, wdym? We will make lives better for people because they don't have to deal with the hurt of disabilities. Plus, the world is more forward thinking than ever before! We aren't homophobic, we aren't racist! And I say sure. Maybe you aren't. But there are people out there who are and there is still a chance that if you don't struggle with these categories you might be without even knowing it. We've progressed, I admit it. But imagine only having one superhero that represents your race. Or, imagine knowing about 55% of people in the workspace are ok with you being there in that building with them. Now, imagine both of these scenarios being good news. Scary, right? I fail to see how giving someone the power to choose the characteristics of their child could be moving forward and not causing more separation and hate. Because while some may use it for curing cancer, others will use it to make their baby lighter or have straight hair or be straight. And while maybe you won't be alive to see the negative effects, I personally don't want to think that there's a chance that we could be moving backwards. Maybe I'm a little biased. Maybe I'm just a stupid kid who needs to shut up. Maybe you support me. That's up to you to decide. But I've made the decision that I believe this is wrong. And frankly, I want to fight for what's right.

  18. my only complaint with mutated food is that they don't test this on humans, we have no idea what the stuff does to us. If protesters would stop complaining, I would personally volunteer to have these genes tested on me.

  19. We don't know enough to tamper with DNA engineering. Natural mutation is one thing but in a lab is another and potentially dangerous.

  20. How about we eliminate poverty, hunger, homelessness, ignorance etc? Oh, I forgot, there, no money in that.

  21. Bon appetit would actually be: "Smaklig måltid" in Swedish. "Varsågod", is closer along the lines of "you're free to eat", "be my guest" or "there you go". But I understand why he picked it, it is to some degree the more commonly used phrase, when it comes to initiating a meal.
    (Although "Smaklig måltid!" is more the more common phrase, when it comes to special occasions).

  22. The only thing I can’t get over— you left the closet door open when you took out your jacket. xD

  23. In my opinion we either do this full on or we all die from the harm we've done. We can use gene editing to create plants and animals to be resiliant against heat need less water survive on less food. We as humans must do this for ourselves as well the world wont support us the way we're for much longer I think this could be a way to survive.

  24. I would love if you talk about this plant. It is a plant, but has no chlorophyl. >> Tradescantia pallida purpurea

  25. Gene Editing………"The Duality of Mankind" or Our "Ying & Yang". We will never be able to escape it even when we transcend to Singularity.

  26. I'm all into science but I ask myself if your kids would be yours? If your dna is changed they no longer a copy of you and your partner. Some people don't like their names given to them by their parents and then eyes colour and skin tone or muscle mass. I think their should. Be a random gene changes(like being deseas free) that everybody gets if they want but altering the look of a person and all should be not allowed.

  27. the implementation of these technologies is not difficult. Once the information is out everyone will have access to it with or without everyone else's consent.

  28. Cheese and rice! I appreciate the humor in science, but "joking" about a researcher "smuggling plants in from another country" is a seriously damning comment to make on VIDEO BEING MADE PUBLIC! Just sayin, I felt a quick heart stop there for the guy! Otherwise, great video and content!

  29. I wish I found this last semester. My scicomm students were studying this very exact topic for their communication papers!

  30. Cool video, but nothing will really happen with this tech outside the lab for a very long time if ever. I like watching these videos and think wow we are advanced. Then you get sick and go to the doctor and they can't do a thing for you. Hype/hope is so different to the practicals of reality

  31. ‘Screening for genetic disorder/disease’ these are not the same thing! Down syndrome, autism, adhd etc.. are all considered genetic disorders. This is nerodiversity, just as important as biodiversity.

  32. "Lahat ng sobra masama" is a popular saying here in the Philippines. It literally translates to "too much of anything is bad". So if we edit our genes too much to gain something, it would at some point backfire to us.

    What if we edit everything so that people would not die. That would cause a lot of problem in the world. First that comes to mind would be over-population, lack of place to live in, maybe insufficient resources. There's always another side of the coin.

    This technology could solve a lot of problems we currently have now. As long as we do it with restrictions and laws governing it, I think this should be pursued. For the unforseen negative effects of this, let's just find another solution for that. This revolution should not be forgotten and buried just because we're afraid of possible future super villains.

  33. i am blown away that you aren't being funded by some big company. the time and energy put into your vids are amazing. reminds me of a BBC documentary vibe.

  34. If something goes wrong, can the hazard be contained?
    Editing something big and slow is ok with me.(elephants or humans)
    Fast or small is possibly not containable ( germs , rats,insects => outbreak)
    Ps: any dystopian movie has the top 1% profiting from it. it's a dystopia just for the rest of us, not them.

  35. Yeah lemme see I'd like these vascular regeneration genes and this amyloid beta solvent coding segment, also a few copies for follistatin, and please rebalance my natural monoaminoxidaseinhibitors… i'd like to live for at least 300 years with my current physical and mental condition. And I believe it would be beneficial to society if this was accessible to all humans (and our cats. I don't want to have had 30 generations of cats during my life)

  36. That s*** crazy I wouldn't do it I would not recommend that that is so immoral we don't know what has two DNA for hanging leg from memory ain't for your personality for a thousand other thing ain't gonna be hard on your liver and all the other crap

  37. This video is definitely underrated. Tonnes of efforts, high quality content, and only 120 k of views?
    You gotta be kidding.

  38. If you were to remove autism or something else of the sort in a child, couldn't the autism be potentially beneficial to society? For example, autism can some with some major pros, even with the cons. Autistic people generally are smarter than the average human, so taking that away could be harmful.

    Edit: I know this because with me being autistic, and having friends who are autistic, we generally are smarter in certain areas than most people.

  39. i'd unmutate my mtDNA A3243G mutation which gives me MELAS syndrome into mtDNA G3243A. Also my tRNA at set point 3243 which gives MELAS syndrome related double diabetes. insulin dependence + insulin resistance. but unfortunately CRISPR doesn't edit mitochondrial DNA.

  40. my only argument to why we consider humans special and shouldnt be tampered with is… i am me only me can be me if i change me then i am no longer me
    with that said modifying genes has the potential to negate what makes you you

  41. What bums me out is that I'll probably be dead by the time scientists really nail down human gene editing

  42. How would geneticly altering animals like pigs to create a healthier meat source. Effect the health of the pig. I beileve that us humans when eating meat need to be as humane as possible to the animal that is being killed and eaten. And that is if we were to eat meat at all. I am personally a vegetarIan and don't eat meat because of how inhumane we are when slaughtering them

  43. Very nice video We hope that the communication between us, your brother from Morocco will last how much I am happy to join you, is there a welcome

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