Scientists from UW-Madison and the Morgridge Institute for Research were in Germany earlier this month for an international conference on gene editing, an emerging field with seemingly limitless potential.
These experts shared insight into the possibilities for human health and other industry applications, but also detailed potential hazards.
Pilar Ossorio, a bioethicist at Morgridge and a UW-Madison law professor, points out that although human trials for genetic manipulation are highly regulated, other areas of exploration are wide open.
For example, a DNA editing technique for spreading a desired change through a population called a ‘gene drive’ could limit mosquitos’ ability to carry health threats like West Nile or malaria.
Ossario says security experts worry about gene drives being used to poison food supplies or to actually increase mosquitos’ disease spreading capabilities in certain areas.
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