CRISPR takes American Medicine to a dangerous level
While European Governments and companies have held back, the Americans race ahead developing CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat).
What does it do? Well it is James Bond meets Mission Impossible and then some. Having cracked the layout of the Human Genome, this system would enable scientists to see what bit had gone wrong in a sick person, and then change it.
At the moment, the scientists are beavering away, taking cells out of sick people, trying to change the relevant gene sequence and then put the cells back. Who needs chemotherapy drugs?
But the real breakthrough would come if the changes could be made in situ, without any cells being taken from the body. If you had cancer or diabetes, you could just be zapped, and health would return in days.
Of course, the technology could be used more widely. For example, defects at birth could be altered, allowing a long and happy life.
But what about students? Could their genome be altered to make them brighter?
Or prisoners – could their genome merely be altered to stop them robbing or murdering.
Or militant Muslims, what of them?
In America, CRISPR is in the public eye now and dubbed the Microsoft Word of genetics.