Behind the Scenes/Short Film Documentary: CRISPR-Cas9: A Ray of Light
Ellen Sandor, Jennifer Doudna, The Doudna Lab: RNA Biology, UC Berkeley, and Megan Hochstrasser, Innovative Genomics Institute, UC Berkeley with CRISPR-Cas9: A Ray of Light.
Given how radical the implications of gene editing are for our species and our planet, opening the lines of communication between science and the public has never been more essential than it is now. Gone are the days when life was shaped exclusively by the plodding forces of evolution. We’re standing on the cusp of a new era, one in which we will have primary authority over life’s genetic makeup and all its vibrant and varied outputs. Indeed, we are already supplanting the deaf, dumb, and blind system that has shaped genetic material on our planet for eons and replacing it with a conscious, intentional system of human-directed evolution. The story of CRISPR is a reminder that breakthroughs can come from unexpected places and that it’s important to let a desire to understand nature dictate the path forward. But it’s also a reminder that scientists and laypeople alike bear a tremendous responsibility for the scientific process and its outputs. We must continue to support new findings in all areas of science, and we must wholeheartedly embrace and diligently exercise our stewardship over these discoveries. For, as history makes clear, just because we are not ready for scientific progress does not mean it won’t happen. Every time we unlock one of nature’s secrets, it signals the end of one experiment - and the beginning of many others.