Editing the Genome - Part Two
Farm animals immune to illness? Eradicating malaria by driving mosquitoes to extinction? Matthew Cobb explores more pros and cons in the brave new world of CRISPR gene editing.
There is a new genetic technology which promises to revolutionise agriculture and transform our influence over the natural world. Research is well underway to create pigs and chickens immune to pandemic influenza, cereals which make their own fertiliser and mosquitoes engineered to wipe out wild populations of the insects which transmit diseases to humans. These are just three examples of what we could create with CRISPR gene editing.
Should we be worried about this unprecedented power over animals and plants? The potential for good is enormous. The ethical challenges are profound. Professor Matthew Cobb of the University of Manchester explores the brave new world of CRISPR gene editing.
(Photo: Pigs at the Roslin Institute that have been gene-edited with the goal of making them resistant to African Swine Fever virus)