Master of Science in Bioethics program director Dr. Robert Klitzman joined Neil deGrasse Tyson on a recent episode of his radio show StarTalk. Klitzman discussed the future of genetic testing and the ethics behind it.
Tyson brought up the future possibility of editing the genes of embryos because, by changing the original cell, all subsequent genes will be altered. Klitzman responded by speaking about the risks involved:
“We don’t know what we’re playing with, and that’s the danger. Who will have access to this [technology]? Right now, it costs a lot of money and people pay out of pocket so we can screen embryos for different diseases. Wealthy people could now say, ‘I want to screen the breast cancer gene so my kids don’t get it,’ and poor people can’t get this. So in the future, some diseases may become the diseases of poor people than of wealthy people who can afford to screen it out.”
Listen to the podcast on the StarTalk Radio website and learn more about the Master of Science in Bioethics at Columbia University.