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Kevin Esvelt: When Should We Edit Nature?

Moral questions raised by gene drive research

Date of Lecture: October 16, 2017

Kevin EsveltAbout the Speaker: Kevin Esvelt is assistant professor of media arts and sciences and director of the Sculpting Evolution Group at MIT's Media Lab. Esvelt developed a CRISPR gene drive technology that enables scientists to alter the DNA of wild populations in a way that is reproducible over generations. He is currently working with the communities on Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard to alter the DNA of white-footed mice to reduce the spread of Lyme disease and is exploring how gene drives could be used to help New Zealand eradicate its invasive and predatory rat population.

About the Talk: Esvelt explains the gene editing technology he developed, its potential for saving millions of lives, and the considerations for deciding to use it. Esvelt addresses issues of governance, safety and moral responsibility that should be factored in to any genetic research, and advocates for open and responsive science.