George Church and Josiah Zayner on stage at the 2019 Hello Tomorrow Global Summit. Photo by Étienne Boulanger

The Future of Genetic Engineering

A bioengineer, a biopunk, and a biotech reporter square off onstage about our neobiological future.

In a new documentary that is still in production, filmmaker Cody Sheehy follows renowned bioengineer George Church and biotech reporter Antonio Regalado to China for the 2nd International Summit on Human Genome Editing. That’s where biophysicist He Jiankui made the stunning announcement that he had edited the DNA of two twin girls who were born in October 2018. Back in California, the filmmaker catches up with biohacker Josiah Zayner, whose attention-grabbing exploits—part protest, part performance art—include injecting himself with a CRISPR-Cas9 plasmid.

What follows is a panel discussion I moderated among these three men, all of whom are shaping the story of the Neobiological Revolution. Presented by the Hello Tomorrow Global Summit in Paris in March 2019, the panel featured a trailer and early clips from the documentary, Code of the Wild. No release date has been set.

This article was updated on April 19, 2019, to correct the birth date of the twin girls.

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