Die Atomisierung der organischen Natur

Elemente der Naturwissenschaft 106, 2017, P. 41-59 | DOI: 10.18756/edn.106.41


The history of genetics from its beginning with the work of Gregor Mendel proceeds from a materialization of the processes of heredity to its sophisticated experimental handling. Thus, the new genome editing techniques are a consequence within this development. They facilitate high precision transformations of single genes and the simultaneous change of up to forty genetic modifications per experiment. The availability and low cost of CRISPR-Cas suggests this particular technique as the method of choice. It is both, a tremendous advantage and a significant loss. In genetics it expands the technical ability to purposefully manipulating genes, which means power, and at the same time it leads to forget the organic wholeness and its interconnectedness with the environment, which means a loss of contextual wisdom. A number of recommendations are outlined and provide an inner orientation with respect to the scientific, social and ethical challenges of the genome editing techniques.

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