This year’s Nobel Prize for chemistry went to two scientists who are, arguably, the mothers of GMO 2.0, these days referred to as gene editing.
Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna discovered a way to make the genetic engineering of people, animals and crops faster and cheaper than ever before. This has, according to the Nobel judges, “taken the life sciences into a new epoch.”
But in addition to being a technology that can “simply and cheaply edit the genomes of everything from wheat to mosquitoes to humans,” CRISPR can also be used to make killer mosquitos and plant pathogens that wipe out staple crops across wide swathes of land, or airborne organisms capable of altering human DNA in vivo.
It can also be used to alter a pathogen’s DNA to make it more virulent and more contagious (essentially the same gain-of-function research implicated in making the SARS-CoV-2 virus more virulent).
The bottom line is CRISPR may be cheap. It may be fast. But, so far, there’s little to suggest it’s good.
Find out more about the CRISPR GMOs: