SAN DIEGO (KUSI) - Creating genetically modified babies. It's not happening yet, but advanced DNA research could one day lead us there.
There is an important medical conference going on in San Diego that highlights this.
Genomic medicine is customized medical care to your body's unique genetic makeup.
It's also known as precision medicine.
"It's remarkable what we've learned in the past 10- 15 years. Fifteen years ago we first sequenced the human genome and now we know so much more. But we still don't know .. Here is the genetic bases for every disease," said. Dr. Steve Steinhubl, Scripps Director of Digital Medicine.
Right now, some of the world's leading doctors and researchers are in La Jolla talking about modifying your genes as a form of treatment or therapy.
It's the Scripps future of Genomic Medicine Conference.
Dr. George Church, a professor from Harvard University, talks about a new method of DNA engineering called, "CRISPR."
"CRISPR has multiple uses in agriculture, gene therapy- 1st clinical trials hopefully will be in about a year from now. It's being used to fight malaria by gene drives.. And being used for transplantation from pigs into humans," Dr. Church said.
CRISPR enabled scientists to edit DNA more precisely.
The technology has raised ethical concerns over one day, creating genetically modified babies.
But that is something scientists said won't happen for years, if ever.
So, why is genetic editing important?
"In medicine it's important because a lot of us have.. That is a devastating disease and also infectious diseases can fought," Dr. Church said. "There are 2000 gene therapies in clinical trials many of those have cured full cohorts of people for things like blindness."
The annual conference is in La Jolla because Scripps is leading the effort in precision medicine.
"The tools we have now that we didn't have 9 years ago when Eric Topol first started this conference," Dr. Steinhubl said. "No one had been genetically sequenced and now we have over a million people genetically sequenced. We are clinically implementing these things today."