Developed here in Berkeley in just 2012, the CRISPR-Cas9 system lets scientists rewrite DNA in living cells and organisms, editing the genetic code that defines life itself. The technology has already changed the face of basic research, allowing researchers to alter the DNA of hundreds of organisms. Powerful real-world applications are on the horizon - the first clinical trials to treat genetic diseases with CRISPR will begin in 2019 and the first genome-edited crop is scheduled for commercial release in 2020. In fact, major developments are probably even closer than we realize. In November, a Chinese scientist announced the births of the first genome-edited human babies, stunning the scientific community and the world. CRISPR expert and science communicator, Dr. Megan Hochstrasser, will describe how genome editing works, what it can do, what exactly happened with the “CRISPR babies,” and how important it is to grapple with CRISPR’s ethical implications sooner rather than later.
Speaker: Dr. Megan Hochstrasser, Innovative Genomics Institute
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