Ethical Issues Related to CRISPR Gene Editing Technology



debora it's great to have you here today at the gene editing 360 conference thanks for coming thank you so much for having me it's our pleasure I want to ask you about in your experience whether you've seen sort of the response from the general population to a biotechnology breakthrough like CRISPR and and is it is it something that you anticipated when you first heard about this this technology mm-hmm yeah it certainly has taken the field by storm I mean it's it's easier it's less expensive it's really sort of opened the doors to access to gene editing broadly and I do think that in about ten years ago there was another technology that had a similar sort of floodgate effect which was induced pluripotent stem cell research so we had been doing embryonic stem cell research for a while at that point but of course you need human embryos to do that work and that is a rare and precious resource that is difficult to to access and so induced pluripotent stem cells which for which you only need a tissue sample it can be skin I made the field much more accessible to many more people and really sort of as with this technology has opened the floodgate opened the floodgates in terms of public excitement I think there was I think there was similar public excitement as well no I agree it's a great example and I know this is before your time but in 1970s early 1970s recombinant DNA became sort of part of our molecular biology culture and it it's kind of made people think about should we be cloning genes and things like that is is that and you know I'm sure you've dug into that as we go for it is is is that kind of a time that reminded you of or now is sort of the time reminded you that of that era yeah to be sure in fact some of the players from the early 1970s are involved in the CRISPR discussions and debates now right and the Asilomar recombinant DNA this was the first time that scientists really took it on themselves to say you know what this there are risks here we need to think about these before going forward and I think the the scientific community is responding in a similar way with with Chris Berg in fact I think the Asilomar conference was kind of repeated yes for CRISPR which was which was a very good sign for both some of the same players same players right I know this is a more challenging question but but if you step back and look at kind of a global view of human gene editing with CRISPR are there any regulations that you think will be commonplace or that that will be invoked by governments or regulatory agencies or are there things that we can do or how do you sort of see that playing out but weird a really different time now than we were in the 1970s I mean with the recombinant DNA what the policies that we developed in the u.s. really permeated the world scientific community but the community is much larger now and the CRISPR really then uses of CRISPR bear on questions of human meaning and different cultures have different understandings of what it means to be human and what is OK to do with human DNA and tissues and so I don't think we're going to have any kind of international regulations that are able to sort of be sort of globally agreed upon but each individual country is going to have to make decisions and engage with their public about what uses of this technology are aligned with their culture and norms that's a great answer and I think we're starting that today at Christiana Care so thanks so much for being here really actually thanks

2 thoughts on “Ethical Issues Related to CRISPR Gene Editing Technology

  1. Nice intro interview although the final answer about "we live in a different world now" was unsatisfactory imo. If country X decides to aggressively redesign humans w/CRISPR but country Y does not, then country Y will be a globalized disadvantage going forward. The answer here by Dr. Matthews sidestepped the reality that we live in a global community and what country X does will affect what country Y must do if they are to compete in this globalized world…

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