Is genetic modification the future of fighting disease?

Analysis: The benefits of gene editing are vast and its unknown risks must be weighed against the stark realities of diseases like malaria

Alex Matthews-King
Health Correspondent
Friday 31 May 2019 09:08
Comments
Half a million people die of malaria each year so what are the risks if we do nothing?
Half a million people die of malaria each year so what are the risks if we do nothing?

The ability to precisely edit DNA and swap genes in or out with unprecedented precision has the power to transform virtually every field.

People with haemophilia have come off life-long clotting medication, and the first genetically engineered corals could help these factories of the ocean survive rising temperatures and acidification.

But the application of this technology to create modified, or entirely new organisms that are then released into the environment and become fixtures of the gene pool carries a raft of ethical questions and uncertain risks.

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