This summer, after Denis Rebrikov announced that he wanted to make genetically modified babies with CRISPR and the international scientific community put his hands on his head again , the Kremlin summoned some of the best Russian geneticists to discuss the matter . Apparently, the meeting was secret and just came to light thanks to Bloomberg .
Is the next step in the achievement of the human genetic edition in the hands of Russia ?
A secret meeting
According to Bloomberg , the meeting between geneticists and health authorities was attended by the eldest daughter of Putin and supporter of research in this field, the pediatric endocrinologist Maria Vorontsova. However, neither this nor the holding of the meeting has been confirmed by the Russian government.
However, it makes sense. The National Kulakov Medical Research Center for Obstetrics, Gynecology and Perinatology of Moscow has already announced that throughout the month it will ask the Russian Ministry of Health for a review of the protocols and regulations related to the regulation of CRISPR .
And it won’t be a simple decision . On the one hand, Russia has the possibility of retaking the leadership witness in this field once China has released it and the rest of the countries are reluctant to cross that red line. On the other hand, as we explained a few weeks ago , the Russian Orthodox Church has a very important weight in the public opinion of the country and, until now, it has declared itself radically against it.
Can we control the genetic edition
Yesterday we talked about the dangers and opportunities of synthetic DNA and, if we look at the matter calmly, we see that something very similar happens with the genetic edition of human embryos: as technology becomes cheaper, it is more difficult to control. And, if we pay attention to Denis Rebrikov , genetically changing an embryo would cost about $ 15,500 today. It is reasonable to think that, in the future, it will be much cheaper.
According to Bloomberg, Russia has already committed $ 2 billion in genetic research. And, as Antonio Regalado says , although all this can be left at all, the truth is that Vladimir Putin has a history of somewhat worrisome statements: in 2017 he already talked about making super-soldiers .