Can science fiction help us grapple with gene editing?
Nov 29, 2018

Can science fiction help us grapple with gene editing?

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News broke this week about a Chinese scientist who says he edited the genes of twin girls while they were in the womb. The goal was to make the girls immune to HIV, but editing human genes at that level is ethically controversial and illegal in many countries. It raises many questions about creating genetic traits that can be passed on and about a future where people choose the genetic traits in their children. Not surprisingly, it's a topic well covered in science fiction. The 1997 movie "Gattaca" is about a future where your genes determine whether you'll succeed in life or be considered an "invalid." Molly Wood talks about it with Amy Webb, founder of the Future Today Institute. Webb says there are plenty of benefits to gene editing technology, but that "Gattaca's" social commentary was all too prescient.

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Can science fiction help us grapple with gene editing?

Nov 29, 2018
You had to know we were going to talk about "Gattaca."
Mario Tama/Getty Images

News broke this week about a Chinese scientist who says he edited the genes of twin girls while they were in the womb. The goal was to make the girls immune to HIV, but editing human genes at that level is ethically controversial and illegal in many countries. It raises many questions about creating genetic traits that can be passed on and about a future where people choose the genetic traits in their children. Not surprisingly, it’s a topic well covered in science fiction. The 1997 movie “Gattaca” is about a future where your genes determine whether you’ll succeed in life or be considered an “invalid.” Molly Wood talks about it with Amy Webb, founder of the Future Today Institute. Webb says there are plenty of benefits to gene editing technology, but that “Gattaca’s” social commentary was all too prescient.

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