Since the development of CRISPR technology 10 years ago, there has been a revolution in biology, medicine, and agriculture because we can now modify the genetic makeup of any organism, including ourselves. Cures for many genetic diseases, including sickle cell, muscular dystrophy and cystic fibrosis, are now in clinical trials. Similarly, new treatments for cancer and heart disease are being tested. Genetically modified babies are now feasible and three have already been born. Control of disease spreading mosquitoes is possible. New crop varieties promise to be more sustainable and more nutritious. Which of these technologies should we enthusiastically embrace, which should we ban, and how should we regulate these applications? The lecture portion of this class will explain the technology and the participants will subsequently discuss our options for the future.
Bryan McKersie, Ph.D. in Biology, was a professor for 20 years at the University of Guelph, Canada. He then worked with BASF in North Carolina for 15 years managing international research projects in plant biotechnology. In retirement, Bryan writes about research project management and genetics. He is a member of OLLI at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.
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