Written by Patricia Ogger
Edited by Max Kirtland
For millennia, humans have attempted to control nature to select traits in animals, change the environment, and eliminate infections and disease. In the last decade, the discovery and utilisation of the Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) system has provided us with a specific, efficient and cheap method to change nature instantly at the genetic level (see schematic for details – Doudna & Charpentier, 2014, Science).
The explosion in the use of CRISPR, and the societal and environmental implications of this and other gene editing techniques were recently covered in the Netflix documentary “Un-natural selection”, by filmmakers Joe Egender and Leeor Kaufman.