A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution

Not since the atomic bomb has a technology so alarmed its inventors that they warned the world about its use. Not, that is, until the spring of 2015, when biologist Jennifer Doudna called for a worldwide moratorium on the use of the new gene-editing tool CRISPR — a revolutionary new technology that she helped create — to make heritable changes in human embryos. The cheapest, simplest, most effective way of manipulating DNA ever known, CRISPR may well give us the cure to HIV, genetic diseases, and some cancers, and will help address the world’s hunger crisis. Yet even the tiniest changes to DNA could have myriad unforeseeable consequences — to say nothing of the ethical and societal repercussions of intentionally mutating embryos to create “better” humans. Doudna joins Walter Isaacson in conversation about gene editing and the unthinkable power to control evolution.

Festival: 2017

More on this Session

Watch and Listen: Science

From National Geographic Documentary Films and winner of the 2018 inaugural Sundance Film Festival Favorite Award,... See more
Larry Smarr believes in being the CEO of his own body, and for years, he has been measuring inputs (food and drink) and... See more
Dozens of physicians, health consultants and other medical experts have gone on the payroll at Apple and Google to... See more
The sequencing of the human genome – a complete map of the body’s three million base pairs – opened a window into... See more
Thirty-two million gallons of mercury are trapped under the immense ice sheets in the Arctic Circle. As the Earth warms... See more
A noted author on animal behavior joins a corvid cognition expert to delight us with new discoveries about the... See more

Pages