Regulating gene-editing technology


A chara, – As CEO of ERS Genomics, founded by Emmanuelle Charpentier, Nobel Prize winner for the discovery of Crispr/Cas9, I’d like to echo the sentiments of Dr Thomas McLoughlin (Letters, December 16th), who writes: “Crispr has the potential to revolutionise agriculture, environment and medicine for the benefit of people worldwide”.

By virtue of its ease of use and low cost, Crispr has already opened up genome editing to disciplines that had previously not even considered it. Outside of human disease applications, gene editing can create greener chemistries and enable the use of microbes to create industrial products that pre-Crispr required previous natural resources. To further support a sustainable future, gene editing will be used to modify crops to better withstand the changing world climate conditions and increase food production. Gene editing is likely to become a major player in the treatment of genetic disease. Perhaps much in the same way that software has evolved to manipulate a computer and robotic hardware, so too will gene editing serve as a coding tool for exploring and exploiting the biological hardware of living systems. The potential is limitless.

This technology is available now. Proportionate regulation, both in the EU and globally, will see everyone benefit. – Is mise,


Chief Executive,

ERS Genomics Limited,

Dublin 2.