New Genomics Monkey Business

By on May 6th, 2014 in Ethics, Health & Medical, Human Impacts, Societal Impact

MIT’s Technical Review announced that scientists in China have created viable monkey twins with explicit genetic modifications using the CRISPR genetic engineering methodology.

The Good news — this will allow the creation of primate models for testing diseases and treatments that are not common outside of humans.  Well, good news if you don’t have any concerns about using primates in such testing.

The Bad news — this approach confirms something we have anticipated, which is the ability to perform specific genetic engineering on primates and have viable offspring.  The range of possible improvements is significant.  Clearly parents will want to eliminate defects that would affect the health of their child.  Some areas of potential “improvement”, such as intelligence, are not well understood — so will require a longer period of time before this becomes possible. — Well, good news if you don’t have concerns about GMO humans.