On Defective Genes


It is a painful and pathetic fact that whenever a new technology promises to safely correct "defective genes that cause inherited diseases," alarmist pundits are only too willing to invoke the spectre of "modern-day eugenics" and master-race scenarios heralding "global catastrophe." (Remember Dolly, or stem cells?) The latest cause for hysteria is the news that a team of American scientists led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov has successfully modified a human embryo using CRISPR techniques. Mitalipov's top priority? The eradication of cystic fibrosis and other lethal hereditary conditions. A word to the alarmists: talk to people whose kids have perished from such maladies, or are doomed to do so. Walk a mile in their shoes.