Speaking of CRISPR ethics
Yesterday, we asked readers how they thought history will reflect on He Jiankui, the aforementioned scientist with no qualms about CRISPR’ing human beings. About 32 percent believe he’ll be regarded as a rogue, while 30 percent say he’ll be considered a pioneer, and, interestingly, 38 percent figure he’ll be but a minor footnote in scientific history.
In any case, there’s an applicable cliché about genies and bottles, and science can’t turn back from He’s work. Now the world will have to deal with a thorny question: When is it OK to use genome editing on an unborn child?
As Josephine Johnston, director of research at the Hastings Center, writes in STAT, discerning which uses of CRISPR are medical vital versus which ones veer into unethical territory will be a quandary for the ages.