Putin May Have the Option to Grab the CRISPR Baton


Russia may complete what China started in genetically modifying babies with gene-editing technology CRISPR.

Russian geneticists met secretly this summer with government health officials in Moscow to debate whether to create babies genetically modified with CRISPR, the gene-editing technology, according to MIT Technology Review

Although China began the project to make HIV-resistant humans last year, research was halted due to ethical failings and a criminal investigation.

Yet, Putin may have the opportunity to grab the baton passed on by China if the Kulakov National Research Center for Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Perinatology successfully submits an application to health authorities that would initiate a review of CRISPR’s safety. 

They additionally plan on creating a test of whether it’s socially acceptable in Russia. 

“It currently costs about a million rubles ($15,500) to genetically change an embryo--more than a lot of cars--but prices will fall with greater use,” scientist Denis Rebrikov told Bloomberg. “I can see the billboard now: ‘You Choose: a Hyundai Solaris or a Super-Child?”

Putin directed $2 billion last year to genetic research that he said will “determine the future of the whole world.”

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