What makes us human? What do we want the human gene pool to look like? How much can we change without changing who we are as people? These are just some of the ethical questions that are being asked in response to a rapidly developing form of gene editing technology known as CRISPR. It’s a technology based on a system that bacteria have used for millions of years in fighting off viruses, and it involves editing a gene by adding or inserting portions of the genetic code. Essentially, this means editing the code of life, which can mean altering how organisms work, creating new organisms, or bringing back extinct species.
Tarun Wadhwa is the founder and CEO of Day One Insights and instructor at Carnegie Mellon University College of Engineering, and he joins the podcast to discuss CRISPR technology, its current and future implications, and how he’s trying to advance the conversation about it in order to increase understanding and awareness of the benefits and unknowns surrounding it. He explains that CRISPR technology is particularly powerful due to its low cost, simplicity, and democratization, and how these features make for countless unknowns in terms of future applications. He also discusses the importance of understanding the role of the cultural context in the development and manifestation of this technology, and what he predicts will happen over the course of the next couple of years, and much further into the future.
Tune in for a fascinating conversation and visit tarunwadhwa.com to learn more about this topic.