Emmanuelle Charpentier is a French microbiologist, geneticist and biochemist who heads the Max Planck Institute in Berlin on a daily basis. Meanwhile, Jennifer A. Doudna is a biochemist and molecular biologist at the University of California, Berkeley. Both were awarded a prize of EUR 4.3 million for developing a method for editing genomes in living organisms called CRISPR / Cas9.
This technology is called molecular scissors. Thanks to it, it is possible to cut, edit or replace individual genes in DNA, and thus eliminate genetic mutations that are harmful to health and life. This method is currently the most advanced in the world.
Its use on humans, however, is currently highly controversial of an ethical and moral nature. It was this method that recently used by He Jiankui, a Chinese scientist, to remove the CCR5 gene from the embryos of twins, the absence slick tips which in the human genome results in complete immunity to HIV infection.
Although the world's most effective CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology is widely used in laboratory experiments on embryos (all of them are later destroyed / killed), there is still no clear evidence that it is completely safe. Several scientific studies have already appeared that show that genetic modifications can lead to unknown to us and difficult to predict and control mutations. They can ultimately lead to the appearance of monstrous defects in future generations.
On the other hand, the vision of creating a new, improved society that will be resistant to the world's most dangerous diseases is a significant temptation not only for us, but also for the governments of countries struggling with epidemics such as HIV, Polio or Ebola. However, this may be a problem for pharmaceutical companies. They will lose a lot of revenues from the sale of drugs, which will be replaced once and for all by the elimination of individual genes in unborn children.
We cannot avoid genetic modifications in humans, because they are our future and hope to overcome the most dangerous diseases and to live peacefully on other planets, in inhospitable conditions for ordinary people. In the past, the In Vitro method was something unthinkable for many, and today it has become widespread and thanks to it, parents can come to the world, who would naturally never have children.