Deseret News
Letter to the editor

In November 2018, Chinese scientist, Dr. He Jiankui, announced to the world he had created the first genetically-edited twin babies using CRISPR. The Chinese government, along with the scientific community, quickly condemned Dr. He’s actions.

Since 2018, the scientific community gathered to set up new regulations surrounding genetic editing. Their regulations came too late. Genetic editing is no longer the technology of science fiction, but technology of a world desperate to regulate genetic editing before it advances further and faster than regulations can keep up. This science has the potential to be a great benefit, as germline editing paired with CRISPR has proven to cure many genetic diseases people struggle with; however, this science is also new — which means regulation is required to keep it in check.

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Who will decide what the regulation will be? Will it be the scientist who condones Dr. He’s practice? Will it be politicians of government? It must be us, the people, who answer these questions surrounding genetic editing. As a society, we will live day to day with the results of regulated or unrestrained genetic editing. The positive outcomes can quickly pair with dangerous results unless achieved under the strict eye of supervision. I am asking readers to become informed about genetic editing, its advances and its risks. I am asking that we all do our best to elect government leaders that express our concerns as a society while supporting supervised experimentation within regulations.

Spencer Van De Graaff