According to the survey conducted by Pew Research Center in 20 countries, people are positive about gene-editing if used to treat illnesses a baby would have at birth (support is particularly strong in Spain). People are also generally in favor of using human gene editing to reduce the risk of future health problems, but less so. India is the only country where the majority says the possibility of using human gene editing to make a baby more intelligent is also acceptable. See more data here.
Category Archives: Public perception
A bold proposal and a cautious report
Let’s imagine a hundred or more citizens from all over the globe, selected to partecipate in a giant focus group aiming to represent world views. It would be an unprecedented social experiment, that’s for sure, but the call is worth considering. The bold proposal comes from a group of social scientists and a few geneticists (George Church included) writing today in Science. Fascinating as it is, this kind of assembly is probably easier said than done. However, the main problem, in my opinion, comes next: what should experts and politicians do with the assembly’s deliberations?Continue reading
Doudna’s evil twin on Netflix
I watched the first season of Biohackers, the new Netflix tech thriller. I will try to limit spoilers as much as possible. What interests me now are the characters: what do they tell us about CRISPR perception? Are they original or stereotypical?Continue reading
CRISPR & society, the dialogue resumes
CRISPR sentiments and Twitter peaks
The analysis of tweets discussing CRISPR from 2013 to 2019 shows that public enthusiasm for genome editing has cooled a bit, and that’s physiological. As you can see below, a bioRxiv paper associates peaks of strong negative sentiments with specific events.Continue reading
Unnatural selection, don’t stop at episode 1
I binge-watched Unnatural Selection, as many CRISPR enthusiasts have done. My review in a few words: the Netflix miniseries is a patchwork of bad and good. On the minus side, too many biohackers and too little real science. On the plus side, some interesting reporting on social issues, such as public engagement of local communities and the challenge of patient access to novel therapies. To sum up: episode 1 on biohacking is the worst, episode 3 on gene drives is the best. So my advice is: don’t give up at the first disappointing scenes. You might want to, but do not stop.
Italy eyes plant genome editing
Few days ago Italian ag scientists experimenting with CRISPR explained the technique’s revolutionary potential in a show broadcasted by national television (Presa Diretta, “Cibo geniale” – meaning “Ingenious Food” – by Lisa Iotti, Ra3, 7 Oct 2019).Continue reading
Human Nature, the documentary
CRISPR slipping into disillusionment?
Influential author and broadcaster Adam Rutherford delivered a keynote at CRISPRcon2019, comparing the evolution of music with genetic technologies. The public attending the conference in Wageningen was asked not to record the presentation, but nothing prevents me from redoing one of his slides. Continue reading