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Boden D.

Emma Boone, Liz Cartwright

Science 8A

3 May 2019

Ethics of CRISPR

At the birth of twins Nana and Lulu had the world had it eyes on these two. The twins

had born HIV resistant by the of genome editing using CRISPR technology. This technology has

grabbed the attention of the governments,corporations and people of the world all questioning

the ethical energy of genome editing. This technology has the ability to improve the lives of

millions around the world, but also ruin the ethical state of mankind. ​CRISPR technology is

being developed and tested on genetically modified products,crops and humans but the ethics of

it are under instese regulation and debate.

CRISPR was developed by a team in the US and europe lead by J​ennifer Doudna and

Emmanuelle Charpentier​. They found that the unique CRISPR DNA has the ability to cut

genemone after observed in


CRISPR is short for


stands for “clusters of

regularly interspaced


short palindromic repeats. It is a specialized region of DNA with two distinct

characteristics: the presence of nucleotide repeats and spacers. Repeated sequences of

nucleotides” and the Cas9 is the protein the is paired with that allows the microorganism to cut

pieces of the DNA. This microorganism has the ability to cut out strands of DNA or RNA and

replace them with other DNA or RNA. The microorganism enters the cell and in a process of

about 30 seconds can cut out a piece of DNA/RNA(Vidyasagar). This technology is way more

preseice than other gene modifying technology and allows us target genes more specifically.

CRISPR technology is way more advanced than any and will open up the world to many new


CRISPR is being heavily developed and tested on variety of products to products.

Recently a group of scientists using CRISPR extracted spiders dragline silk (spiders web) gene

and put them into goats. Using CRISPR’s accuracy they put they put the silk gene into a spot

were it would produce through the goats milk. The offspring of the goat produced three of the

seven goats positive for the silk gene. Now we collect the extremely strong silk easier and in

large quantities(Zyga). Before it was extremely difficult to try and collect large quantities of this

silk as spiders couldn’t be included together(Zyga).

Now that we have access to this silk in large quantities

we’ve seen the potential for medical application by fake

ligaments and tendons. Also the silk has possible

applications in bullet proof


vests and airbags as it is strong but flexible(Zyga). There is the potential to modify many other

natural resource to produce better products.

We are expected to have to have feed around 10 billion people by 2050 and CRISPR has

the potential to help us do

that(Taylor). Most of the crops

that come out of large industry

right now are genetically

modified though through old

process that have more harmful

effects.Though with CRISPR

the process of genetically

modified crops is different but it looks

promising that crops modified by

CRISPR will have no harmful

effects(Taylor). Corporations can now

more easily get there hands on CRISPR

has as it is relatively cheaper compared

to past genome editing options. By genetically modified Crops we can increase their shelf life

and customer appel(Taylor). Corporations are even looking into genetically modifying plants to

have the shelf life or customer appeal to be sold in market so we can feed our growing


CRISPR technology has now even made to genetically modified humans for a variety of

reasons​. When we first look at genetically modifying humans one of the most beneficial

applications is fixing genetic disorders(Colvin). There has been research done in genetic disorder

such as hunter disease,down syndrome and even rare blood diseases. Though at the moment the

treatment are high risk and they can still be passed through heredity(Colvin). Though in world

with aesthetics of of course the question of whether or not we can modify what our kids look like

has come up. In time with more development we could have the ability to decide how a child

looks even before they are born. In china a set twins was born HIV resistant and a host of other

aesthetic changes, though this experiment was

done under regulation(​Vidyasagar)​. CRISPR

technology has the ability to change lives

completely for people with genetic disorder but it

also posing a threat a in its ability to modify



After seeing all its applications is hard not deny the fact CRISPR has the potential to help

millions of lives. Though at this point heavy regulations fairly restrictive access has kept this

technology has been keep quiet. As the research and development furthers it will be important

that we control CRISPR with tight regulations. As this technology developed it's best we

understand regulation need to be maybe on a case by case basis as each application has its own

set of ethical boundaries. Through the development in crops and products it difficult as we have

the ability to produce more and better for humans but it's decide at what cost it is to the

environment .Tim Colvin in the article ​CRISPR Technology​ he states “​It is important to

remember that scientists in nations with lax bioethical standards will eventually have access to

this technology. It will not remain in the hands of individuals who will be reluctant to use it.” and

“This sort of scientific “arms race” mentality inevitably to science controlling humanity rather

than humanity controlling science,” this shows how if don’t use this technology humanity will

find itself fighting a war it could’ve stopped. For an individual it's best to get educated and just

learn more about how this affects us. For a community to best they advocate for what’s local

issue there how CRISPR could affect it. The most important is how we deal with this on a global

scale we it’s important the come together to have ethical policies for us and the environment we

all stick to but also helping the most people we can with this amazing technology.

As CRISPR technology is being developed and tested on products,crops and human it has

the potential for massive impacts. Though it has still under intense regulations and as the

regulations allow these products to hit the market it's important we regulate each application on

case by cases basis. We see this is important as through modifying the natural resources of

product we can drastically improve their performance but we don’t want to affect the natural

resources. We also saw that if genetically modify crops it could help to feed our growing

population but has the potential to harm nature and humans as we are not fully aware of it effects

on crops. Lastly we have the potential for curing genetic disorders and even change the

biochmerity of humans for aesthetic reason though these come at great risk as we are unaware of

it can do to society but changing what makes us all human. CRISPR technology has the potential

to change the world for billions of people though how regulate and decide what is ethical holds a

lot power because this technology has the ability to change nature and mankind forever

Works Cited

Colvin, Tim. “CRISPR Technology.” ​CBC,​ Fordham


Doubna, Jennifer. ​A Crack in Creation​. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Jul 24


Eschner,Kat “We need to Police Gene Editing. The World Health Organization

agrees.” ​Popular Science, ​Bonnier, 25 February 2019,​.

Taylor, Ashley. “Companies Use CRISPR to Improve Crops.” ​The Scientist,​ LABX

Media Group, 1 February 2019.


Vidyasagar, Aparna. “What is CRISPR.”​Live Science,​Purch, 20 April


Zyga, lisa. “Scientist breed goats that produce spider silk.” ​,​ Science X

network, 30 May 2010.

Image caitions