Bioethicists Discuss Gene Editing's Deadly Potential

While gene-editing technology is being heralded as a new frontier that could eradicate illness, the U.S. Director of Intelligence James R. Clapper has a warning. In February 2016, he told Congress that gene-editing techniques could potentially be used to build biological weapons.

Bioethicists have weighed in on this possibility, and in an article on BioEdge, leaders in the field had many existential questions about gene editing’s dark side. As Master of Science in Bioethics program director Dr. Robert Klitzman said, “The infectious agent responsible for bubonic plague, if altered through Crispr, could potentially be used as a WMD. Currently, we have effective treatment against it. But if it were altered, it could potentially become resistant to these treatments and thus be deadly.”

Read more about gene editing's “existential risk” on BioEdge and learn more about the Master of Science in Bioethics at Columbia University.