George Church is one of the world’s most famous pioneers of genetics and biotechnology. He has made colossal contributions to the disciplines of genome sequencing, genome engineering, and synthetic biology. Among his many accomplishments is the founding of the Personal Genome Project, which endeavors to make public large data sets that include human genomes combined with information on health and other traits. Currently, the database contains information from more than 10,000 individuals.
Church is a firm believer in the medical potential of gene editing, which is already being used to treat potentially fatal genetic diseases. In theory, it could also be used to prevent physical or mental disabilities, boost the human immune system, and even enhance longevity and intelligence. Church is coordinating his research endeavors so that this day will come sooner than expected.
However, he is not without critics. Over the years, many different people, from preachers to philosophers, have voiced their concerns over the safety and ethics of gene editing. Opposition to Church’s work — along with the work of other scientists in his field — has... see more