A breakthrough called CRISPR opens the door to curing diseases, reshaping the biosphere, and designing our own children. A provocative exploration of its far-reaching implications, through the eyes of the scientists who discovered it.
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The biggest tech revolution of the 21st Century isn't digital, it's biological. A breakthrough called CRISPR has given us unprecedented control over the basic building blocks of life. It opens the door to curing diseases, reshaping the biosphere, and designing our own children. Human Nature is a provocative exploration of CRISPR's far-reaching implications, through the eyes of the scientists who discovered it, the families its affecting, and the bio-engineers who are testing its limits. How will this new power change our relationship with nature? What will it mean for human evolution? To begin to answer these questions we must look back billions of years and peer into an uncertain future.
"...weather we like it or not - we are living in a time of transition. After two billion years this is, in a sense, the end of the beginning."
Robert Sinsheimer, Biologist, CalTech 26th June 1966
From understanding the structure of the DNA and the mapping of its fingerprints - to the beginning of understanding what various parts do - has been an ongoing journey. A journey that, until this decade, fell short of our ability of precise manipulation.
Now the first tools are in the toolbox. We are gaining the ability to "cut and paste" DNA. Not only in our surroundings - but in are very own beings... not only in our own beings but in all our offspring.
This capability has "blasted" into the world with such velocity - question is; are we prepared for it's effects - the bad as well as good. The consequences raise philosophical questions of epic proportions.
To a large extent Human Nature attempts to explain; the principles of CRISPR, it's possible implementations and the ethical considerations - in parallel. This approach may be useful for keeping the audience hooked but, arguably, the end result would have benefited from a "chapter approach". It also leaves the impression that none of the topics are done to perfection.
This is not necessarily a good documentary - in the sense well made in relation to what it's dealing with. The story itself is, however, so mind blowing and important that it gets a bonus with regards to rating - purely on the importance of the information conveyed.
It is a must see - more on the merit of what it is saying, than how it is saying it. We have unleashed enormous powers, knowledge and debate is the only way to temper them. The sooner more of us grasp the concept of CRISPR and Cas9 - the sooner can we influence; where and how we want it to go.
The alarm bell just went off, it's a fire alarm - hitting the snooze button ain't gonna work.
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