Unleashing Evolution’s Future or Playing With Ethical Fire?

Unleashing Evolution’s Future or Playing With Ethical Fire?

DNA Genetic Editing Concept

In a new opinion paper published in Trends in Genetics, evolutionary geneticist Asher Cutter highlights the ethical and scientific considerations surrounding “genetic welding,” the use of CRISPR-Cas9 technology to alter the evolutionary course of organisms by inserting easily-spread genes. Cutter emphasizes the need to examine the potential long-term consequences of genetic welding on natural populations spanning hundreds or thousands of generations before implementing it in practice.

With CRISPR-Cas9 technology, humans can now rapidly change the evolutionary course of animals or plants by inserting genes that can easily spread through entire populations. Evolutionary geneticist Asher Cutter proposes that we call this evolutionary meddling “genetic welding.” In an opinion paper published today (March 28) in the journal Trends in Genetics, he argues that we must scientifically and ethically scrutinize the potential consequences of genetic welding before we put it into practice.

“The capability to do genetic welding has only taken

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