In lieu of an interview transcript, I have decided to summarize the interviews I conducted. All the ideas summarized below are Dr. Wiltrout's responses to my interview questions. Dr. Mary Ellen Wiltrout is a MITx Curriculum Development Specialist for Biology. During our discussion, we talked about the demand for courses covering genome editing, specifically CRISPR as well as the other courses offered by MITx. In regards to the demand, Dr. Wiltrout said that there are people that request courses covering CRISPR. In their Introduction to Biology course, there is a lesson covering some preliminary information on CRISPR and in their more advanced Molecular Biology course they have added a specific lecture on it. Everyone is welcome to take the courses offered by MITx. They are offered around the globe. In terms of their structure, the courses are structured similar to the courses offered at MIT, but being an online course, they are able to provide resources to the learner in the form of videos and papers to help supplement the learning experience.
After asking Dr. Wiltrout about MITx and the courses offered, I asked a few specific questions about CRISPR. When it comes to the concerns of this emerging technology, Dr. Witrout stated that one of her major concerns is regulation. She mentioned that although in the United States scientific research is greatly regulated, outside of the U.S. there are a lot of scientific communities that are not. For example, as early as 2015, researchers in China had genetically modified human embryos. She also raised the concern that before the widespread use of this technology, it is important for scientists to know the risks associated with its use. More research needs to be done before we move forward.