Summary The cheapest, simplest, most effective way of manipulating DNA ever known, CRISPR may well give us the cure to HIV and genetic diseases, as well as help eradicate some of the world's deadliest pathogens. Yet even the tiniest changes to DNA could have myriad, unforeseeable consequences—to say nothing of the ethical and societal repercussions of intentionally mutating the genomes of embryos to create “better” humans. With CRISPR, we have now effectively taken control of evolution – but what will we do with this unfathomable power? In my talk, I'll discuss the science behind CRISPR-based gene editing, the many areas that CRISPR technology has revolutionized, and some of its more controversial applications that are currently being discussed/pursued.
Samuel H. Sternberg, PhD, is a protein/RNA biochemist and CRISPR expert who, together with Jennifer Doudna, co-authored A Crack in Creation, a forthcoming book about the discovery, development, and applications of CRISPR—Cas9 gene editing technology. He is currently a scientist and group leader at Caribou Biosciences, Inc.