What if I could make a designer baby for you?
People have alternately worried about and scoffed at that question for decades. The debate has been around for as long as scientists have had the know-how to genetically modify organisms. But just in the last three years, the next generation of GMO technology has emerged.
And it is awesome.
The new technology makes it much more feasible to try to create designer babies. Should we take the plunge? Where did this technology come from so suddenly? And how should we use it responsibly?
This new genetic modification technology is called CRISPR, short for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats. It is fast, powerful, and cheap. For these reasons it is already ubiquitous in thousands of research labs all over the world. Some researchers are using CRISPR to make genetically modified plants and animals. GMOs that might have taken years and millions of dollars to produce in the past can now be created with CRISPR in weeks or a few months for just thousands of dollars.
The CRISPR system...