Who wants to Genetically Engineer their own DNA? How about a Pet Baby Mammoth?

An exciting new type of genetic engineering tool, commonly referred to as CRISPR,
has the potential for great benefit to society. Experiments using CRISPR-based
techniques are well underway in animal models, and a new wave of CRISPR-based
products, including treatments for human diseases, may soon be a reality. However,
with these powerful tools come urgent questions regarding their potential use. Can
we justify changing the DNA of mosquitoes in an effort to combat malaria or ZIKA? Is
bringing back extinct animals in an effort to slow climate change a good idea? What if
we can use genetics to end the shortage of organs for those in need of a donor?
Someday, it might be technically possible to alter human DNA in such ways that
engineered changes are passed on to future generations –but are the risks worth the
benefits? As we reflect on what it means to be human, biotechnology presents a new
lens through which to think about of shared future. In this open and interactive talk,
we will discuss the new genetic engineering tool call CRISPR, with a focus on the
social, personal, societal and ethical issues surrounding its use.
Dana Waring is a co-founder of Harvard Medical School’s genetics Education Project
(www.pgEd.org.based) in Brunswick, Dana’s work includes writing new
curriculum, teaching, public speaking and assisting with a recent series of
Congressional briefings about genetics and society. Dana’s interests include privacy,
disability, reproductive genetics and de-extinction. She lives in Brunswick with her
family and spends her free time shoveling snow off her backyard hockey rink.
Crofutt Community Room, 1st Floor, Speaker, Dana Waring