New essay on CRISPR

Over at Crisis Magazine, a new essay on gene editing and CRISPR. An excerpt:

There is no single “switch” for a higher IQ. Relationships between individual genes are “epistatic,” that is, “the effect of one gene . . . is dependent on the presence of one or more ‘modifier genes’.” Furthermore, Kozubek adds, the expression of genes is driven in part by the environment with which an organism of a certain type interacts. Genes, organism, and ecosystems form a “triple helix” of interactions.

This leads us to question the simplistic word-processor metaphors that are used to describe CRISPR. If CRISPR scientists are the newsroom copy-editors, Nature is still the editor in chief, determining through organism and environment what actually goes to press.

Yet this does little to allay one’s ethical concerns. Will not the proponents of genetic modification, in the face of the news that we cannot surmount Nature’s complexity, reply with a simple “Not yet, but we will!” and urge us to press on?

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