CRISPER biotechnology, an acronym for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, took the expensive and complicated world of gene editing and transformed it into a more accessible field. Born out of the ongoing war between bacteria and viruses, CRISPR scientists discovered a bacterial defense mechanism built around identifying and splicing genetic information in viruses and transformed that bacterial defense into a tool that promises medical miracles, cures, and the ability to edit DNA in areas as diverse as food production and curing cancer. Some worry intellectual and scientific advancement threatens to be divisive by nature if treatment costs and not medical need determines who receives care. The promise of CRISPR, like all medical treatments, comes with built in risks. Copying and editing errors may be a source of mild embarrassment for those who trade in the written word, but so called off target edits in our genetic makeup could have devastating consequences.
How do Christians spiritually navigate a world advancing aggressively in the ability to alter the building blocks of life, for good or bad, in areas like CRIPSR research? An apparent lack of consideration for early human life fosters a distrust for the scientific community within many people who identify themselves as Evangelicals. This frustration will not deter advancement. It is incumbent on Christians to reflect deeply on what it means to be a human being in an age where some scientists actively seek to fundamentally alter the human experience or even leave it behind altogether.
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