Ms. Fabienne Mondesir is the Director of Community Engagement at the Personal Genetic Education Project. During my interview with Ms. Mondesir, we walked through what genome editing was as well as its many applications.
In order to put all this into perspective, Ms. Mondesir started by presenting two distinct scenarios: one in which you had the choice of a genomic sequencing and another in which you had the choice to “correct” the disease-related genes found in the analysis.
After presenting the scenarios, Ms. Modesir began by describing how the CRISPR mechanism was first discovered in bacteria as well as how it works. CRISPR is a genome editing technique that targets a specific sequence of DNA and through the employment of the Cas9 protein, is able to make a cut at the target site.
During the interview, we also discussed some of the potential applications of CRISPR technology. Some examples include: gene therapy, the ability to correct mutated genes in hopes of curing diseases such as cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia, organ transplants as well as de-extinction. There are also many ethical concerns surrounding the use of CRISPR such as safety, and informed consent. Ms. Mondesir also talked about the Personal Genetic Education project, highlighting their mission: to increase awareness and conversation about the benefits and ethical, legal, and social implications of personal genetics. To learn more about this amazing organization, you can visit their website at: https://pged.org/