CRISPR QUESTIONS SHOULD NOT BE WILL OR WHY, but rather, should we or should we not? CRISPR technology promises to elicit genome-wide edits in living organisms. In a short time — partially due to the ease of reducing to practice the technology and results — there have been discussions in scientific circles on germline editing. We are forgetting something in that debate. When scientists discuss the ability to cure genetic diseases through germline manipulation, they would also be assuming that we had the ability to recognize the disease firsthand. My sense is that scientists wish to forge ahead using altruistic message statements, hiding ulterior motives. In the wrong hands, when combined with a targeting moiety and delivery technology, we have a perfect genetic weapon. With time and controlled experimentation, though, CRISPR can deliver on promises.
ALEX CHANG, PH.D.
Alex began as research scientist with Roche and ImClone before transitioning into business development. He is the head of business development and alliance management at KLOX Technologies.