Creating genetically modified people is no longer a science fiction fantasy; it's a likely future scenario.
Biologist Paul Knoepfler estimates that within fifteen years, scientists could use the gene editing technology CRISPR to make certain "upgrades" to human embryos — from altering physical appearances to eliminating the risk of auto-immune diseases.
In this thought-provoking talk, Knoepfler readies us for the coming designer baby revolution and its very personal, and unforeseeable, consequences.
Dr. Paul Knoepfler is working to figure out how we use safely stem cells to treat many diseases and how they sometimes turn to the dark side to cause cancer. Over the years he has made key discoveries about how stem cells and cancer are programmed. Now he is especially interested in how to hack these cells to control their behavior, including using powerful CRISPR genetic modification technology.
Knoepfler has also been a leading voice in the discussion about how CRISPR could be used to make designer babies and the risks of going down that path. He is a professor of cell biology and anatomy at UC Davis School of Medicine in California, where he both does research and teaches. In addition, he is a prolific writer including his popular science blog, The Niche, and two books: Stem Cells: An Insider's Guide and GMO Sapiens: The Life-Changing Science of Designer Babies. He is excited about contributing to efforts to build an innovative, global community of interconnected people with a shared passion for biomedical science and battling fake science. Knoepfler’s outspoken, approachable nature in tackling some of the most transformative questions in science has made him a go-to scientist for journalists and ordinary people across the globe.
You can read the full transcript here.