“[Russian geneticist Denis Rebrikov] is one of these people who takes action towards any imperfection of the universe that can, from his point of view, be corrected. For him, this is an opportunity to give happiness to parents to have healthy children.” — Sergey Lukyanov, molecular biologist
A new Netflix series is now out, “Unnatural Selection.” Writes Wired Oct. 18,
A Netflix Series Explores the Brave New World of Crispr
Unnatural Selection, Netflix’s provocative new docuseries about Crispr gene-editing technology, which premieres today on the streaming platform… a global drama unfolding over who gets to wield the awesome power of Crispr…
chronicles the ambitions and struggles of scientists, doctors, patients, conservationists, and biohackers as they seek to wrest control of evolution from nature itself. They are all navigating the profound ethical dilemmas of a world where it’s possible to rewrite the code of life inside any organism, including humans.
Later in the Wired piece, a reference to designer babies sure to sound the alarm to those concerned about traits of one particular ethnic group, being selected over others.
Like any good series, the most compelling moments come in the final episode, which examines the most controversial use of Crispr—editing human embryos to pass changes on to future generations. The couples who bring the specter of designer babies to life do so using today’s fertility techniques. In one scene, a fertility doctor helps his patients pick out embryos that are likely to become babies boasting the same blue eyes as their mother. [Emphasis added]
Meanwhile controversial Russian biologist and former professional Sumo wrestler Denis Rebrikov is moving full-speed ahead. Reports, futurism, “he’s already edited donated eggs and human cells.”
From futurism.com, Oct. 18,
Russian Biologist confirms he’s working on more CRISPR babies
On Friday, the journal Nature reported that Rebrikov claimed in an email sent the day prior that he had already used the gene-editing tech to tinker with the genetic code of donated humans eggs — a major step forward in his plan to edit human embryos…
Rebrikov’s stated aim is to eliminate deafness in newborns.
to use CRISPR to repair the deafness-causing GJB2 mutation in bodily cells sourced from deaf people who have it.
he won’t actually create any CRISPR babies unless the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation gives him the green light.
However Rebrikov’s actions don’t necessarily match his rhetoric. Sciencemag.org, reports Oct. 21,
Rebrikov says he has a detailed research plan to assess the risks of altering embryos with CRISPR before he makes any attempt to implant them….
The fury that Rebrikov has faced builds on the outrage surrounding He Jiankui, the Chinese scientist who startled the world in November 2018 when news broke that he had stealthily used CRISPR to edit human embryos in an attempt to make them resistant to HIV and then implanted them, leading to the birth of twin girls.
Rebrikov’s efforts have invited great scrutiny, including at the highest levels of the Russian government.
Among the 10 attendees [July meeting of the Ministry of Health] was a pediatric endocrinologist, Maria Vorontsova. She is widely reported to be Russian President Vladimir Putin’s daughter…
Bloomberg News adds, Sept. 29,
Future of Genetically Modified Babies May Lie in Putin’s Hands
some of Russia’s top geneticists convened a secret meeting with health officials at a facility in southern Moscow that included a special guest with unusual access to the Kremlin: Vladimir Putin’s eldest daughter, according to three people who were there.
Russian officials caution, that Rebrikov will not be permitted to move ahead with his plans without the “green light” from the WHO, (World Health Organization).
However, Putin, often accused of being a white identitarian,
has made it increasingly clear in recent years that he expects genetic engineering’s eventual impact on society to be as great as or even greater than artificial intelligence…
Meanwhile, the Chinese are moving forward at record pace.
Biochemist David Liu, a leader in the CRISPR movement, says gene editing to prevent disease is fine, but advises great caution on straight out designer babies.
Interview, Statenews.com, Nov. 6,
Questions for David Liu about CRISPR, prime editing…
[Liu’s] CRISPR inventions have the potential to treat or prevent a long list of dreaded diseases… Last month he gave the world “prime editing,” which can delete long lengths of disease-causing DNA or insert DNA to repair dangerous mutations…
“Editing for disease prevention or other forms of what some view as human improvement poses more ethically and scientifically complicated questions…. Many have advocated for a moratorium on clinical germline editing to create edited babies, which I support at this time.”
See related topic, Subspecieist.com, “Dr. Noah Carl predicts Chinese will conduct Race IQ Research regardless of the West,” Aug. 12.
Editor’s note – Cover photo, Aldous Huxley’s novel, released in 1932, which imagined a future of designer babies, in-vitro fertilization. Huxley is the great nephew of “Darwin’s bulldog” Thomas Huxley, who is a favorite of this website.