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We can change the DNA of an entire species — in the wild

Dr. Kevin Esvelt, Biologist

Kevin Esvelt knows the stakes are high. As a geneticist at the MIT Media Lab, Kevin developed a technique called a gene drive, which gives humans a power we’ve never had before: to change the DNA of entire species in nature. Used for good, a gene drive could save millions of lives by eliminating diseases like malaria. But in the wrong hands – or even in well-intentioned hands – the results could be catastrophic. How do we weigh the potential for enormous good against the terrifying unknowns?


“Anyone who engineers biology understands that you’re tinkering with a system that was not designed by people to be engineered by people.”

— Kevin Esvelt