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The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 17, Issue 1, Spring 2017

Jennifer A. Doudna
Pages 37-41
DOI: 10.5840/ncbq20171714

Rewriting the Code of Life
CRISPR Technology and Its Impact on the Future of Humanity

DNA encodes the information necessary for life, but sometimes this code also leads to disease. Scientists have long envisioned the ability to change the DNA sequence in cells to correct disease-causing information. A technology known as CRISPR now enables precise rewriting of DNA sequences, offering unparalleled potential for altering the code of life in human beings as well as other organisms. CRISPR technology holds the promise of curing genetic disease and provides methods to reshape the biosphere for the benefit of human societies and the environment. However, along with these enormous opportunities come safety risks and ethical concerns. This article discusses the uses of CRISPR technology, its potential applications, and the actions we must take to prepare for future developments.