We Need A Backup Plan In Case Modified Genes Go Rogue
The U.S. Defense Department wants better ways to control or reverse the effects of genetic modification.By Evan Thomas | November 19, 2016
Ready or not, genetic modification of living humans is now a thing. It's mostly just in safety trials for now, but governments and scientists are already looking at the next important question: Once we change certain genes, how much control do we have over what they do next?
We're not always sure how genetic tweaks in one organism will affect the rest of its environment. And as the tools for gene editing get cheaper and easier to use, it's more likely that modified organisms will get loose — either on accident or on purpose.
The U.S. Defense Department wants to be ready to clean up after these "genetic spills" if it has to. It's asking scientists to come up with out-of-the-box ways to stop genetic changes from going rogue.