Torill Kornfeldt is a Swedish science journalist, author and speaker focusing on biology and biotechnology. She is the author of two books. The first titled, The Re-Origin of Species, discusses the reconstruction of extinct animals using gene modifications. However, in this conversation we mostly speak about Torill’s second book, The Unnatural Selection of Us. The description from Torill’s website:
The advancement of the new genetic technology has hurtled forward at breakneck speed. When the first genetically modified children, the twins Lulu and Nana, were born in China in 2018, it became clear that humanity was facing possibilities that we had, previously, only been able to imagine.
It has given us the possibility to rebuild the core of humanity, but while it gives hope, it has also forced us to face hard ethical and societal questions. With the pair of genetic scissors known as CRISPR, we could potentially choose the traits of our children and avoid ageing and diseases. But with that ability comes a new set of risks.
How are we supposed to handle these new tools that could end up changing our genetic material?
I have travelled all over the world to meet the people who are driving the research forward. I have visited fertility clinics in South Korea, oncologists in China who are experimenting on sick patients, and biohackers in the large cities of the US who want to make the new technology available to everyone.
In Unnatural Selection of Our Species, I examine what the consequences have been of the recent years’ developments and what might still be waiting around the corner.
I’ll probably be taking a break from these podcasts for a couple of months (although the odd one will pop up here and there), as I’m working on some high production quality in-person interviews as well as a documentary on genetics and existential risk. If you want to support this work, Patreon is the place to go. Thank you.
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