September 13, 2018
It’s interesting to read an international committee’s proactive attempt to establish guidelines and principles in the National Academy of Science and National Academy of Medicine report when the stability and consequences of gene drives and gene editing practices are still being researched. Even though CRISPR and modern gene editing practices have only been in use since 2012, people already feel a need to start defining rules beyond existing frameworks. This is because we can already anticipate potentially new forms of social inequality (pop culture reference 1) and unintended biological side effects on edited organisms and/or their populations.
I see a connection between this desire to already establish rules in this growing field and the lessons/morals from stories on the human belief that we can master and control nature. Maybe we’re not meant to totally replace or suppress a genetric trait through a gene drive if nature/evolution can always find a way to resist (pop culture reference 2).
NYU ITP documentation blog.
Words are my own.