Gene editing technology - has our technology exceeded our humanity? Is our superhuman future just a few edits away?

Gene editing technology - has our technology exceeded our humanity?  Is our superhuman future just a few edits away?

"Breakthroughs in DNA technology are opening the door to a superhuman future. Genetic engineering pioneer George Church says we have nothing to fear"

This New Scientist interview begins by looking at why there has been a lot of excitement lately over the new gene-editing technology, CRISPR, which brings the promise of new approaches to treating cancers and viral infections, including HIV:

newscientist.com/article/dn...

(free registration)

In related news, UK scientists are seeking permission to genetically modify human embryos

sciencealert.com/uk-fertili...

If approved, they'll be the first to do it with national approval, because last April, biologists in China carried out the first experiment to alter the DNA of human embryos, igniting an outcry from scientists who warn against altering the human genome in a way that could last for generations.

abc.net.au/news/2015-04-24/...

And this week it was reported that scientists in Wisconsin have grown three-dimensional brain-like tissue structures from human embryonic stem cells: cen.acs.org/articles/93/i38...

This technology will enable 'easier' toxicology testing.

So was Albert Einstein right when he said our technology exceeds our humanity? Are we 'playing God' or can we rely on the likes of the the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drugs Administration to protect us from ourselves?

Neil

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  • We could resist all human invention for fear of it turning bad. Undoubtedly we have used human inventions badly in the past but, arguably, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. We have to use it responsibly.

    No monsters but, since CLL is often associated with deletion, duplication or alteration of various chromosomes, it makes sense to tackle the disease at the root cause.

  • This technology is moving fast; "researchers discovered that the biological features of Cpf1, a protein that is different from the CRISPR/Cas9, has the potential to improve genetic engineering since its features are simpler and more powerful.":

    techtimes.com/articles/8866...