Bill Gates advocates for CRISPR gene editing tool

April 16, 2018

In a newly published essay in Foreign Affairs, Bill Gates writes about gene editing and how he feels the technology will be most effective in the near future. 

 

As one of the earliest pioneers of investing in a company that used CRISPR technology to eliminate human disease, Bill Gates, in his essay, points to several areas that gene editing will make impacts, including world hunger, poverty and wiping out human diseases such as malaria and even genetically transmitted diseases such as Huntington's Disease, reports Business Insider.

 

In his essay, Gates claims that one of the most likely places we will see the effects of gene editing is in agriculture. This is not necessarily the same thing as what we see in GMOs where the DNA of one life form is injected into the DNA of another but rather editing the genetic code to change certain characteristics. Scientists have already figured out how to alter the genetic code of a cow, for instance, to remove their horns.  

 

In theory, you could alter the genetic code of someone with Huntington's Disease to remove the repeats which actually cause the disease.

 

Hundreds of thousands of people die every year due to Malaria.  Scientists are working on finding a way to alter the genes of mosquitoes so that maybe they could all be born male, since female mosquitoes are the ones that spread the disease, thus wiping out the few mosquito species that are of concern.

 

There are some charities that support gene editing as the most promising tool for bringing on a cure for Huntington's Disease.  One of those charities is WeHaveAFace.org, and for an interesting read feel free to click here to read the essay in full.

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