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Jianghong Min is a graduate student with the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School who is currently involved in genomics studies of the heritability of CRISPR-based gene drive cassettes to control specific functionalities in non-human species and their impact on genetic diseases. He is working on these projects at MIT with the Sculpting Evolution Group and Kevin Esvelt, Assistant Professor.

Listen to the podcast to discover:

  • Why trial work with CRISPR-based gene drive systems is important.
  • What unintended consequences might result from genome editing techniques.
  • What measures are being taken in the new CRISPR method to ensure safety in this area of science.
  • What potential benefits are associated with manipulating heritable genes in non-human species such as mosquitos and mice.

Min is working on a study involving the genetic editing of heritable genes using gene drive cassettes in a non-human genus. The study is in the exploration phase at this time. Of particular interest is the evolution of a gene drive system once it is released into the wild. How much genetic information can be included in the gene drive cassettes? How much control of the heritability of the gene drives do scientists have once the are released into the wild?

Min is especially interested in discovering unintended consequences. Could these heritable changes spread into other nearby species? He believes in the precautionary principle that scientists should not intervene until all of the negative effects are known and should identify the greater impact of genetically modifying these organisms.

To learn more, visit:

MIT Media Lab: https://www.media.mit.edu

Sculpting Evolution Group: www.sculptingevolution.org

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