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Course of Human Evolution Could Change With Gene Editing Technology

Author: Issues in Science and Technology(i) : Contact: issues.org

Published: 2016-04-07 : (Rev. 2020-06-14)

Synopsis and Key Points:

New gene-editing technology could eliminate some inherited diseases but also change the course of human evolution.

Judith Benz-Schwarzburg and Arianna Ferrari point out that genetically modifying farm animals raises complex ethical questions about animal welfare.

Just as advances in biotechnology have profound social implications, developments in information technology are affecting many aspects of social and economic relations.

Main Digest

The recently developed gene-editing technology known as CRISPR/Cas has created opportunities for valuable medical treatments for hereditary disease but also raised fears about possible misuses or unintended effects.

What is CRISPR/Cas?

Issues in Science and Technology

The Spring 2016 Issues in Science and Technology includes four articles by experts on the implications of this powerful new tool.

Whereas all of the above articles argue for a go-slow, deliberative approach to this new technology, Henry Miller of Stanford's Hoover Institution warns against a proposed moratorium on clinical applications of gene editing. He argues that such a proposal reveals ignorance about how innovation works and ignores the human suffering that could be alleviated with genetic treatment.

New genetic techniques can also be applied to other species, Judith Benz-Schwarzburg and Arianna Ferrari point out that genetically modifying farm animals raises complex ethical questions about animal welfare.

Just as advances in biotechnology have profound social implications, developments in information technology are affecting many aspects of social and economic relations. Martin Kenney and John Zysman of the Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy look at how the application of big data, new algorithms, and cloud computing will change the nature of work and the structure of the economy in what they call "The Rise of the Platform Economy." They explain how the exact nature of that change will be determined by the social, political, and business choices we make.

George Washington University sociologist Amitai Etzioni steps back to look at the big picture of how society manages new developments in science and technology. He argues that we should harness new capabilities in ways that cultivate social and moral progress.

Issues in Science and Technology is the award-winning journal of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the University of Texas at Dallas and Arizona State University.

(i)Source/Reference: Issues in Science and Technology. Disabled World makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith. Content may have been edited for style, clarity or length.

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