Friday, February 12, 2016

Micrograph of an egg in the eight-cell stage: Clone a … – Germany Kultur

From Lydia Heller hear


micrograph of an egg in the eight-cell stage: clone a human embryo (imago / UPI Photo)

Theoretically, you can thus design a baby in the laboratory: CRISPR is the technology that can detect portions of a genome and can replace them with others. About these and other large cuts in our lives have to be debated critically in public. But hardly anyone makes with.

In April 2015 reported Chinese geneticist about their attempts to modify the genome of human embryos.

And with CRISPR. One technology that is based on a mechanism by which bacteria defend themselves against viruses and makes it possible to track sections of a genome and replace them with others. discovered in 2012, is CRISPR has developed into one of the most accurate and efficient tools of genetic engineering – the genetic modifications in the human genome are relatively easy possible for the first time

“We are talking about something in the. could intervene human evolution “

the molecular biologist Jennifer Doudna of the University of California at Berkeley -. one of the developers of the CRISPR technology – called, among other reasons end of last year, together with colleagues,

“that the use of CRISPR exposed human embryo first. We want a global debate in which all the ethical and social consequences of such technology will be discussed. the intended and unintended.”

“Science and technology must enjoy democratic legitimacy”

in terms of the consequences that could have an application of CRISPR, this debate takes albeit slowly ride on. The of Doudna with convened conference agreed ultimately that banning genome manipulations would not make sense that the “ target for further research” must to remain open and that in time a moratorium national regulations for dealing with CRISPR should be coordinated. So Discussed is no longer the “if” but already the “in any form”, criticized Nicole Karafyllis, biologist and philosopher at the TU Braunschweig:

“General was my observation that actors in science and technology sometimes forget that science and technology must be legitimized democratically they are not per se a purpose -. but a company decides which would have “

in order for the. but happens, the potential of technologies would be familiar to a wide audience. This is mainly the task of science journalists – but just their Approach to convey science especially spectacular and exciting, often causing that research is perceived as a science fiction, the bit with the lives of the people has to do.

“These biotech debates tend indeed to always get the same with the people and be advised this Frankenstein visions.”

It should rationally benefits and risks are reflected

Although should journalists development scenarios design, but:

“produce no images that generate emotions and thus prevent that is thinking rationally about the benefits and risks. people have an overdose of emotions. (…) if science itself says, feasibility is already an ethical criterion, it is exactly a risk of science journalism when they also reproduce this proof yet. so if they are already doing so, as if the Frankenstein vision possible, then they work exactly in the hands, that is no longer discussed the desirability. in the agricultural sector, there is no discussion as though it there already, the first products . are so rape of CRISPR technologies Ultimately you have to wonder: Where would actually the most money made “

and: Who finances specific research project and why? Who makes what research questions and who is excluded from what research? Why have already put hundreds of millions of dollars in start-ups venture capitalists, want to use the CRISPR for gene therapies and why leads Jennifer Doudna with other researchers in a bitter dispute over the patent rights for the technology – if still not clear whether and how the company plans to use at all? Is Doudnas commitment to an ethical debate might only PR because of its largest competitor has already made more sophisticated versions of the technology?

journalists as a critic and inspectors of academic life

“It is in this tension moves journalism the have to ask yourself. Shall we be those who criticized the inspectors of the scientific system Shall we make a decidedly much more political Science journalism?”

says Markus Lehmkuhl, communication scientist at the Free University Berlin.

“where do you explain that science is a social system where people are traveling and have interests. and science, particularly in the bio- Science has become a brutal business with strong competition. and where researchers provide is not only about that to communicate with the outside, what are the wonders of nature. for them it is also about making points in the battle for resources. ”

given but one would have to say goodbye to the desire to always want to present latest study results and scientific “secured” to be able to provide answers to everyday questions.

“Right now it’s more like this: When a scientist turns up with a windy story, they do not report about it, but one could imagine that they say also:. Look over here, here is a scientist who needs research funding and presses as fully in the hope room, but in fact he gets money from companies XY, those kind of stories. the are just made relatively little. “

Science journalists Lost often that reality counts most criticized most recently the British Guardian. They just usually does not produce spectacular headlines.

But “Horror leads not to think!”


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