I found it surprising to know that CRISPR isn’t as hype as it’s made out to be. I feel like everyone always hears about CRISPR when talking about gene-editing, but in the video, George Church said that there are other often overlooked types of gene altering methods. CRISPR is really good at subtracting genes from DNA, but not that good at adding or altering. That is an important distinction that I think is overlooked and convoluted to the public. Another interesting extension of this is that CRISPR and other gene altering methods are of no use if you cannot read the genome. The actual revolutionary event was the ability to read genomes. That is what has allowed the field to advance so far. I also found the study on PKU and changing destiny from 100% genetic to 100% environmentally managed an interesting concept. The interaction between both genetics and environments was a theme that I expected to find in this video, but did not realize the extent to which you can depend on the environment’s effect on the human body. On another note, I also found it really interesting and surprising that when parents get to choose what gender their baby is using gene-editing, 80% of the time they choose the baby to be born a girl the US.
If I had conducted this interview, I would have brought up services like 23 & Me and Ancestry DNA, and how accurately these services provide data on people’s genetic makeups. These services are blowing up in popularity, and I think people may depend on them to learn health facts about themselves they might not have previously known. As Church mentions, studying genes is important because it allows people to take actionable steps to fix problems in their genetics. I don’t believe that services like 23 & Me and Ancestry DNA provide insight into what actionable steps to take. I’m also just curious as to what George Church’s opinions are on this topic—does he support or is he against?