Genetic modification is an incredible technology with the potential to change the world by changing the billions of individual characters that make up the human genome. Your genes determine everything from appearance and intelligence to your risk of various serious illnesses. Using genetically modified viruses and other methods, it is possible to edit the genomes of living organisms. This is very controversial when applied to humans, not least of all due to unresolved safety concerns. In 2018, a Chinese scientist claimed to have genetically engineered babies who are immune to HIV. Despite the controversy, the science and technology of genetic modification continue to attract great interest.

Key Takeaways:

  • Although the first sequencing of a complete human genome cost over $2.5 billion, we can now sequence a genome fairly inexpensively.
  • Genetic modification of living organisms presents us with the possibility of curing some of the worst diseases afflicting mankind.
  • Just last year, a Chinese researcher claimed to have genetically engineered HIV-resistant babies.

“For the first time, we are not only able to read our genetic code but also edit it. This will revolutionize our ability to treat disease and it will improve the lives of millions if not billions of people.”

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