From CRISPR Multiplexing to Pleistocene Park

Genome science pioneer George Church envisions technologies of unprecedented power—and applications of breathtaking scope

George Church has been a towering figure in genomics for more than three decades, dating back to the early days of DNA sequencing and the inception of the Human Genome Project. Since then, his interests and influence have spread to systems and synthetic biology, next-generation sequencing technology, and personal and consumer genomics.

Church has also had an important role in the launch of CRISPR technology, epitomized by a landmark paper in 2013 that marked one of the first demonstrations of CRISPR genome editing in human cells. His group remains among the most creative of research labs, pushing CRISPR into one scientific frontier after another, including multiplexing technology, de-extinction, xenotransplantation, and gene drive.

Church recently sat for an interview in his Harvard Medical School office, where he entertained questions posed by Kevin Davies, GEN’s editor-at-large. The interview—lightly edited for length and clarity—is presented below:

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