CRISPR Gene Editing Pioneer Condemns Embyro Editing

Three of the pioneers in the use of CRISPR-Cas9 were Emmanuelle Charpentier, Jennifer Doudna, and Feng Zhang. Doudna and Zhang helped launch Editas Medicine in 2013, but Doudna left the following year and joined Intellia Therapeutics.

Intellia Therapeutics currently has a valuation of over $700 million. Editas is worth over $1.3 billion. As a chief scientist and co-discover of CRISPR, Jennifer Doudna clearly has a substantial amount of shares in Editas and Intellia.

Unsurprisingly Doudna released a statement condemning the controversial gene editing of human embryos.

It is essential that this news not detract from the many important clinical efforts to use CRISPR technology to treat and cure disease in adults and in children. Public and transparent discussion of the many uses of genome editing technology must continue, as is happening over the next three days at the Human Genome Editing Summit in Hong Kong.

Human gene editing of embryos is highly controversial. Large shareholder in CRISPR companies hates any controversial use of CRISPR that could trigger any backlash against the business of CRISPR.

24 thoughts on “CRISPR Gene Editing Pioneer Condemns Embyro Editing”

  1. If the parent chooses traits they like, there is a better chance they will love their offspring, sacrifice for their offspring. I see this as a good thing.
    How many kids are enamored by a car given to them that is not their choice? Not many. It is just a car. But let them chose, and they wash it every week with a smile on their face.
    Outward appearance really does not mater much, as long as no function is compromised and their appearance does not frighten people. Genes related to mental stuff are exaggerated. Nutrition especially early nutrition and early experiences are far more relevant. I doubt anyone will be 200 IQ just because someone changed a few genes. Although, with animal genes thrown into the mix, I do think it is possible. I am optimistic about ape, dolphin, bird, elephant and especially cephalopod genes. Cephalapods have 168 protocadherin genes that code for neurons and their interactions. Humans have less than half as many. In any case, giving people abilities does not force them to use them. It is money in the bank, use it or don’t use it, it is up to you.
    It is vastly more likely they will be upset with you, if you could have fixed something that you did not. I think it is appalling to have your child suffer a genetic disease that you could easily have fixed. Each of us have al least 100 defective genes. Maybe we would not have the money to fix all of those, but maybe we could fix 20 of the worst. And they already have scores (magnitudes).

  2. Oh drop the nonsense. You have lots of information, just based off appearances. get to know them and their family and you start teasing out diseases.
    Saying you create a child with zero knowledge of your partner’s genes is a dumbass observation.

  3. What angers me is that the media attention and problematic conduct here could stop initiatives in China to use CRISPR to prevent and cure genetic defects. This kind of controversy could delay the entire field.

  4. It’s hard to stop. Monitoring a nuclear weapons program is one thing, but with CRISPR a lab in China can take these chances and who is going to stop them? Designing babies will likely become a big business.

  5. Nonsense for whom? If you are born talented pianist its a gift; if somebody makes you a one it is forced. On what basis you can shape human destiny? Decide what their character, talents, health and mental capacity should be? Why they should fit your needs, desires and assumptions? Should they live for you or for themselves? You are being nonsensical slash fascist. You have no right to impose ANY standards on other humans int hat regard. They are who they are and you just have to accept it, otherwise you are a tyrant. Human beings are not your toys.

  6. This is logical fallacy. When you are choosing partner you have no idea what kind of genes they posses. You have no way of impacting which genes will be inherited. There is no possibility of you knowing how mix of genes will work. And once baby is born you accept is as it is, depsite the fact that accidental mating produces randomized effects, that often have nothing to do with your desires, wants and assumptions. Only as repeated in populations en masse this has result of promoting general fitness of population. Stop repeating this nonsense.

  7. You must mean, trying to instill an advantage into forty or so children, picking the strongest-looking three or so and implanting those into the mother’s (or rent-a-belly’s) womb, and letting the rest die.

  8. That is exactly why Dr Doudna is condemning this premature commercialisation of the CRISPR techniques. Be certain that the first thing these baby editors are going to go for is eye, hair and skin colour.

  9. “First do no harm”
    There are a lot of baby steps to try to make sure these techniques do more good than harm

  10. Funny how society feels it’s ok to kill an unwanted pregnancy but condemns giving the child an advantage in life through gene editing

  11. The real ethical objection is that this is still experimental, so they are doing medical experiments on human babies.

  12. This should be treated as a property rights issue. An embryo has no free will. I see circumcision of male infants as being more problematic than generic alteration.
    There’s an application. Sons sans foreskin. No messing around with moils.

  13. Thanks to this technology, scientists can precisely transfer beneficial genes from one animal species to another. In research studies, animals that have been safely genetically engineered (GE) include cattle, pigs, chickens, goats, sheep, dogs, cats, fish, rats, and mice.

  14. Yes yes…. and how far will you go for your child? How far?? As stated below, editing out lymphoma is a vastly different proposition as opposed to enhancing intelligence or strength. We have absolutely no right to “enhance” a child against it’s will. We have to consider how far people would take enhancing embryos. We could herald in our own extinction!

    Let adults decide if they’d like to undergo genetic enhancements.
    It is pure evil to decide for a child what ‘features’ you’d like them to have. There is a God and he is watching science. Scientists may not believe in him but he’s there and we’re his agents… like it or not…. I don’t care for the consequences of ‘Not…’

    Do the right thing. Cause no harm. Heal. believe in the life growing within. It is not clay! It’s path was predetermined. Nature is imperfect, so if its required, heal. Don’t mold…

  15. Sorry guys this is a least part of the future and NO ONE will stop it. I think two things to consider are.

    1. Why the unborn when we will be able to make the changes in a adult?
    2. Perhaps not right at first when people’s lives are at stake, but we should be able to reverse anything we do with the DNA.
  16. ” Any “upgreade” of unborn human is unethical, because somebody imposes changes in it without its consent ” <– Nonsense. Not doing what you can for your child is potentially unethical — not doing something is what must be justified.

  17. Yep. We do it by picking our reproductive partners.

    We always have.

    All this fretting about playing god will mostly result in the West not leading the genetic enhancement research, with the squeamish ending up buying it from China.

  18. We modify fetuses, babies and infants all the time without their consent, and in not inconsequential ways, too.

  19. And she is correct. Any “upgreade” of unborn human is unethical, because somebody imposes changes in it without its consent; rejecting its human dignity as result (you are insufficent, we dont want you like that). The only allowable form of interventions from ethical standpoint are those that eliminate recognized ilnesses, deviations and defects-because this is an act that allows human being to reach its full shape. Its the difference between changing sculpture and re-creating it. However giving immunity to ilnesses appears to be in between; and Im not sure if it should be judged in the same way as other upgreades.

    Once human becomes and adult its different question what is and what is not ethical.

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