The 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to two scientists, including a Frenchwoman, to crown work deemed decisive in the field of genetic manipulation. The technique developed by the two laureates raises many questions in the current context of deregulated scientific research, deprived of any reference to the Creator.
The expectation was more about the Nobel Prize in medicine, but, on October 7, 2020, it is in the field of chemistry that the Frenchwoman Emmanuelle Charpentier and the American Jennifer Doudna were honored with the prize awarded by the illustrious academy Swedish.
They are rewarded for having developed “genetic scissors” capable of modifying the genetic material of animal and human cells possessing a nucleus.
Emmanuelle Charpentier became known in 2011, when she discovered, in the genome of certain bacteria, the existence of a natural mechanism formed by a protein associated with an RNA - the term enzyme would be appropriate - organized so as to fight against viral infections. The system works by cutting out viral DNA to deactivate it.
From this observation, the Frenchwoman - who joined forces in 2012 with Jennifer Doudna, a biochemist at the University of California, Berkeley, California - is developing a technique for transforming the genome using the bacterial system, called Cas9, which allows “to inactivate, add or remove genes, especially those at the origin of simple genetic diseases,” explains the researcher.
The Potential Dangers of the New Technique
Easy to use, the new technique can easily be misused for disturbing purposes: eugenics or transhumanism. Like adding a gene to provide a trait that parents want, or pulling out another that appears unwanted. The list is already long in this area, which for the moment remains more or less closed.
But for how long? Because the new bioethics law in France, which opens up the possibility of experimentation on the embryo even greater, is based on new techniques of genetic transformation, such as Case9.
“Certain uses raise ethical problems,” admits the French winner timidly. We can certainly not blame the inventor for all the disorderly uses that flow and will result from her discovery. But the fact remains that the danger is very real.
Thus, in 2018, the Chinese He Jiankui claimed to have transformed the DNA of a human embryo, in order to immunize it against possible HIV infection, using the genetic scissors technique ...
But all geneticists know that these manipulations are very risky, and that they are never sure of the result, nor especially of the general consequences for the individual. Many hopes linked to cloning, for example, are now buried under genetic aberrations or subsequent diseases that the theory did not foresee.
Wanting to play the demiurge and think of yourself as the Creator risks costing humanity dearly.