Are designer babies going to become a reality in the near future?
Will you someday be able to upgrade your own DNA, purely for enhancement and cosmetic reasons? What will be some of the ethical implications along with that and what exactly is genetic engineering technology like CRISPR actually being used for today?
On this episode Cormac speaks to former NASA employee and biohacker Josiah Zayner who sells CRISPR DNA kits for use at home, Director for the Centre for Genetics and Society Marcy Darnovsky talks about the ethical implications involved, science communications specialist at the Innovative Genomics Institute Kevin Doxzen talks about gene editing to save chocolate and assistant Professor from Trinity College Dublin’s Immunology and Biochemistry Department Dr. Vincent Kelly, about where and how the technology is actually being used today.
Kevin Doxzen PhD
Kevin holds a B.A. in Biophysics from Johns Hopkins University and received his Ph.D. from Jennifer Doudna’s lab at UC Berkeley in 2017. He speaks on episode 6 about how CRISPR is being used to try and save chocolate. Specifically, how CRISPR is being deployed to make the cacao plant resistant to various fungus and diseases. More information about these projects on the Innovative Genomics Institute website.
Marcy Darnovsky PhD
Marcy Darnovsky, PhD, speaks and writes widely on the politics of human biotechnology, focusing on their social justice and public interest implications. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, Nature, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Harvard Law and Policy Review, Democracy, New Scientist and many others. She speaks to Cormac about the huge inequalities that could arise from CRISPR technology if it is to be used on human embryos and creating designer babies.
Visit the Centre for Genetics and Society website for more information on her work.
Josiah Zayner is a former NASA employee, biohacker and scientist best known for his crowdfunded campaign to provide genetic engineering CRISPR kits to the general public. He is arguable one of the first people to ever edit his own DNA using CRISPR and speaks to Cormac about where the future of gene editing could take us.
Follow him on Twitter here.
Dr Vincent Kelly
Dr Vincent Kelly is an assistant Professor in Trinity College Dublin’s school of Biochemistry and Immunology. He speaks on this episode about how CRIPSR gene editing is being used today in the lab to find treatments and drug combinations to help fight various deadly diseases.
You can find more about his research here.
For more episodes from series 1, click here.