My publicist is excited that you’re doing this. She was raving about your Rihanna biopic. I won’t be nearly as exciting. Are you kidding me?
You’re almost as famous as Einstein. I’m Kate Randall, I’m a geneticist. I hold professorships at various universities and I’m the winner of the 2025 Nobel
Prize for Physiology and medicine. And your company is? Well, there’s … it’ll take a while to say
them all … There’s about ten now. I’ll just say something generic. I’m the co-founder of a number of companies
developing CRISPR technology in numerous fields, from health to agriculture to fertility. So, now can you read the opening
paragraph from your new book? ‘For four billion years, nothing fundamental
changed in the basic rules of the game of life.’ ‘Whether you were Tyrannosaurus
Rex, tomato or a Texan, you were subject to the laws of natural selection.’ ‘But about 15 years ago all that changed.’ ‘And now we’re replacing evolution by natural
selection with evolution by design.’ ‘Today we can literally rewrite
the book of life.’ That’s great! Now can you give us a CRISPR 101? Really? I mean, kids are
learning this in elementary school. CRISPR is like a chemical cut and paste tool. It enables us to snip out a certain piece of
DNA and remove it or replace it. It works in a few ways. You can use CRISPR to snip out the part of DNA
that’s coded for say muscular dystrophy or Alzheimer’s thus eliminating that
disease from your future child. But CRISPR is not only a pair of
scissors, it also allows us to insert the DNA so you can insert say the genes for
green eyes or height or for strength and if that wasn’t revolutionary enough,
CRISPR also enables us to make these genetic changes heritable. CRISPR can override natural selection. Most forms of cancer are now treatable. Drought-resistant rice now ensures food
security for millions of the poorest. Gene drives have been used to wipe out
malaria by sterilising female mosquitoes. Now, using pigs we’ve modified
for human organ harvesting. There is no transplant waitlist in
countries like the USA or the UK. That’s just a fraction of the numerous benefits
we’re experiencing conclusive. Are you still using Cassandra? I’m so, so sorry,
I was sure I turned my phone off. So, I wanted to ask you about regrets. What about the
way it’s exacerbating inequality? The recode babies which only the rich can
afford, the fact that we’re engineering a new human race for the wealthy. You can’t blame that on us, on scientists. That’s capitalism not CRISPR. We did everything
we could to mitigate the risks. In 2019, we called for a global moratorium
but we were ignored. I sat on global ethics committees, I wrote three books to inform the public, I did everything I could. A diary that is? Not quite. Morning pages. It’s free writing, helped me writing that first book. And all those nightmares back in 2019. This was mum’s. I’ve forgotten about that. She was a scientist too, right? Yeah, biology teacher. This was her place. It was badly damaged in that tornado in 21,
I had it rebuilt. What are those? Drawings of the organisms whose genomes had been edited using CRISPR year by year. It’s a bit of a project. It all happened so fast.
– Too fast? Yeah. You could say that. Once we’ve mastered the ability to recode human life, everybody wanted in. Science progressed at an insane speed. The race to play God. Russia, China, the US … nobody
wanted to be left behind. Remember they became obsessional? Abusing CRISPR that was the height of
human arrogance over the rest of the web of life. More and more whenever she looked at me
she had this mix of pride and disappointment. I couldn’t bear it,
I stopped visiting. Put the bloody camera down, have a drink.
– I’m good thanks. I’d like to ask you about CRISPR and … Oh, just have a sundowner. – I’m not drinking. When’s your harvesting date? – I’m sorry? Oh well, that was your hormone measurements, on your phone, right? IVF. Actually this isn’t about me. Well, that’s not fair. You get to pick me apart
but I don’t get to find out anything about you? Well, at least tell me what you’re recoding? I’m doing this because
I’m having a a child alone not because I’m recoding anything. I want my child to be born in natural. Don’t tell me you’re a luddite. Anyway, I could never afford it.
It’s four times my income. The prices will come down.
They always do. Well, pharmaceutical companies have
been shafting us with patents for ages so forgive me if I don’t share your conviction that eventually everyone will be able to
afford recoding. Stop with the pro natural blah blah. They’re deluded.
Pandora’s Box is well and truly open. At least get the climate recode, then your
child can live at higher temperatures. I’ll sort it out at my clinic. A gift.
I just need some DNA. I just wanted to help. If temperatures soar by recoding you’re
ensured of the future of your child. When I was little I used to spend hours
prodding the sea anemones. I love to watch them contract. Let me touch it. No. Don’t. Leave them. Let them be. If you want to film
where really all began, it’s probably here. It was the first time that
we came down here. My mum had just got the place. Well, it was in a state. But there was no running water. We had to wash our plates in the sea
that first night. I wanted to impress her with star jumps on the rocks. I wanted to keep her happy so I kept
doing bigger and bigger jumps and then of course I fell, badly, broke my leg.
I was horizontal for two weeks. She tried to entertain me by teaching me a jazzed
up version of her syllabus from Darwin to DNA. That’s what led to me diving into genetics. Toward the end of her life, she told me
how she sometimes wished that that period had never happened. You should accept my recode offer. What choice have you got?