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Gene editing can now change an entire species – forever
This video discusses the idea of “gene drives,” and how the gene editing tool CRISPR
changed the way genes are edited and copied. CRISPR allows scientists to edit genes very
precisely, thus allowing for changes to be made in an organism. However, originally, it was
impossible for the CRISPR gene to be spread from parent to larvae, until scientists came up with
the idea for the CRISPR to essentially copy and paste itself into offspring, resulting in organisms
that reproduced with the new gene indefinitely. This can allow for species to quickly replace a
gene in the population, and in the example given, allowed for an entire population of malarial
mosquitoes to be turned into malaria-resistant mosquitoes. This technology is controversial
because it can result in genes being wiped out from an entire species, which could be beneficial
in some environments, but devastating in others, especially if the altered species is invasive.
In my opinion, the research being done on CRISPR is fascinating, but somewhat
terrifying. I think research should continue to be done on this gene and its benefits, but research
needs to be highly regulated to ensure that species don’t escape labs and infect the general
population of organisms, and to ensure that species with altered genes are not spread
unintentionally or too aggressively. If this occurs, entire ecosystems could be wiped out easily,
thus throwing off global ecosystems and potentially causing astounding damages. However, this
technology could also save lives and ecosystems. In the case of the malarial mosquitos, it’s
possible to wipe out all malaria-carrying mosquitos within a year, thus saving thousands of lives.

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As with all new science, especially science that changes genetics and DNA, caution should be
used and research should be highly regulated, until the effects of such technology are fully

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