Advanced biomedicine technologies are quickly moving from the lab to real-life.
This week, U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock pledged that all British newborns will be able to have their genomes sequenced at birth. The babies don’t get much of a say, but mums and dads can opt in. By receiving this genetic information, families could get advanced warning of heightened disease risks and plan for personalized treatment.
In the U.S., doctors used Crispr to snip the genes of cancer patients (a first in the country). The technology is quickly advancing: Last month, researchers announced a more precise, flexible version called “prime editing.” The new genome-editing tool lets researchers ctrl-alt-delete or ctrl-v DNA with less collateral damage.
Zoom out: It took 13 years and nearly $3 billion to sequence the first genome. Now, a country wants to offer it to all newborns. Gene-editing tech is moving quickly, too.
But…centrally compiling human DNA could be a security risk and a privacy challenge. And some uses of DNA sequencing and Crispr are quite controversial. Get ready for a whole range of new ethical dilemmas.