CRISPR-Cas changing biology?

Biology and Philosophy 34 (1):15 (2019)

Janella Baxter
Washington University in St. Louis
Eugene V. Koonin argues that fundamental research of CRISPR-Cas mechanisms has illuminated “fundamental principles of genome manipulation.” Koonin's discussion provides important philosophical insights for how we should understand the significance of CRISPR-Cas systems. Yet the analysis he provides is only part of a larger story. There is also a human element to the CRISPR-Cas story that concerns its development as a technology. Accounting for this part of CRISPR's history reveals that the story Koonin provides requires greater nuance. I'll show how CRISPR-Cas technologies are not “natural” genome editing systems, but artifacts of human ingenuity. Furthermore, I'll argue that the story of CRISPR-Cas is not “primarily about research into fundamental biological mechanisms”, but is instead about the intertwining of applied and fundamental research programs.
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DOI 10.1007/s10539-018-9663-x
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