This is the abstract of the talk I gave to the Freiburg Bahai Community on December 7th , 2016:
When flicking through science sections of newspapers in 2016 readers repeatedly came across the catchy acronym CRISPR and its role in what is referred to as Genome Editing. To avoid being carried away by hope, hype or fear narratives it is necessary to have a look beyond the headlines and understand both underlying principles and potential impact of whatever those journalists consider so exciting. Indeed, within the last few years several entirely novel genetic mechanisms have been described, the most influential of which was coined CRISPR. Its controlled utilization allows researchers to modify the genome with unprecedented preciseness and effectiveness. This new degree of Genome Editing already spread into all branches of biotechnology, ranging from publicly funded basic research to industry. Moreover, it kicked off a biomedical revolution which is reaching out for the clinic with enormous speed and will most likely affect the entire population in all industialized countries within the next few decades. In my talk I will describe how CRISPR works, how it is currently used in research and which applications of this technique we should expect in the near future. I would then like to invite the audience to participate in a discussion about ethical implications and societal dimensions of this development.