Our genetic code is the foundation of who we are. The DNA and RNA molecules that carry our genetic information dictate our past (like our innate skills), our present (like the color of our eyes, hair, and skin), and our future (our predisposition toward genetic diseases). But what if we could edit those genes, picking and choosing which ones we want to keep and which ones we want to edit out? Would we even want to?
Scientists using the CRISPR-Cas9 system made headlines last week for being the first to cleanly “fix” a mutation known to cause a heart disorder in regular human embryos. How did they accomplish such a feat, and what does this mean for the future of genetic engineering?