Author(s): Eben Kirksey
An anthropologist visits the frontiers of the next scientific revolution to ask- whose values are guiding gene editing experiments, and what are the implications for humanity? At a conference in Hong Kong in November 2018, Dr He Jiankui announced that he had created the first genetically modified babies - twin girls named Lulu and Nana - sending shockwaves around the world. A year later, a Chinese court sentenced Dr He to three years in prison for 'illegal medical practice'. As scientists elsewhere start to catch up with China's vast genetic research program, gene editing is fuelling an innovation economy that threatens to widen racial and economic inequality. Fundamental questions about science, health and social justice are at stake. Who gets access to gene editing technologies? As countries around the globe, from the United States to Indonesia, loosen regulations, can we shape research agendas to promote an ethical and fair society? In The Mutant Project, Eben Kirksey takes us on a groundbreaking journey to meet the key scientists, lobbyists and entrepreneurs who are bringing cutting-edge genetic modification tools like CRISPR to your local clinic. He also ventures beyond the scientific echo chamber, talking to disabled scholars, doctors, hackers, activists and chronically ill patients who have alternative visions of a future shaped by genetic engineering.