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In November 2018, Dr. He Jiankui of Shenzhen, China, announced via YouTube that he had created the world's first gene-edited babies. It soon became clear that this was not a historic scientific achievement, but rather a historic ethical fiasco, a deeply flawed experiment on unborn human beings. What made it possible for a rogue scientist with no medical training to covertly and recklessly alter the genes of babies? What does the future hold now that the first members of the CRISPR generation have been born?
In The CRISPR Generation, Dr. Kiran Musunuru takes the reader through an insider's view of the history of the gene-editing field, key discoveries about how gene editing can be used to prevent and treat diseases like AIDS and heart attacks, a full account of the events surrounding Dr. He's revelation to the world, a dissection of Dr. He's scientific and ethical lapses, and a look ahead to the consequences of gene editing for humankind, both good and bad. Gene-editing technology has the potential to cause untold damage if taken up by the wrong hands and used irresponsibly. But it also promises to be a boon for the health of patients otherwise destined for disease and suffering.
A Note From the Publisher
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Kiran Musunuru, MD, PhD, MPH, ML, is an Associate Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Genetics in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Musunuru studied and trained at Harvard University, Cornell University Medical College, The Rockefeller University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on the genetics of heart disease and seeks to identify genetic factors that protect against disease and use them to develop therapies to protect the entire population. In his recent work he has been using gene editing to create a one-shot “vaccination” against heart attacks.
Dr. Musunuru is an actively practicing cardiologist as well as a committed teacher. He is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from President Barack Obama at the White House, the American Heart Association’s Award of Meritorious Achievement, the American Philosophical Society’s Judson Daland Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Investigation, and the American Federation for Medical Research’s Outstanding Investigator Award. He recently served as Editor-in-Chief of the scientific journal Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine.
Dr. Musunuru served as an independent expert for the Associated Press to evaluate the veracity of Dr. He Jiankui’s claim of the first gene-edited babies, before the news broke last November. He was the first person in the world to publicly condemn Dr. He Jiankui’s work resulting in the birth of the babies and was interviewed by numerous media outlets following the announcement of the babies.