College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
Creating stronger, smarter and healthier offspring?

The Global China Studies project of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences organised a lecture entitled “The Latest Advances in Genetics: CRISPR and the Ethics of GM humans” at City University of Hong Kong on 19 June 2018. It was delivered by Father Joseph THAM, Professor at the School of Bioethics of Ateneo Pontificio Regina Apostolorum in Italy and Fellow of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights.

The lecture started with a review of some past human genetic projects, particularly the Human Genome Project. Father Joseph then offered a detailed description of the latest genetics technology: the Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR)/Cas genome editing techniques. The CRISPR/Cas genome editing techniques made it possible for scientists to edit the DNA of plants, animals and humans. Its applications raised controversy; beyond eliminating human diseases, it could be applied to the enhancement of the human race.

The talk then moved to a discussion about the ethical questions related to this latest technology. The discussion focused on the moral concerns of CRISPR, particularly its boundaries. Participants at the lecture showed great interest in the topic and had a lively discussion with the speaker.