Last Week Tonight with John Oliver takes on gene editing

Last Week TonightThe main segment of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on July 1 was centered on a subject many people out there were probably not expecting: Gene editing. In the midst of everything that is going on with politics these days, this is a surprising topic. Yet, we welcomed it — after all, this is something that you may not have known that much about. We certainly didn’t, either.

Basically, gene editing is a way in which you could manipulate genetics in a way in which to improve, augment, or in some ways, even create a new form of life. This is something that does pop up in headlines here and there; yet, we’re not anywhere near close to significant advancement as you think. For example, the quests to replicate a wooly mammoth have only been met to date with potentially making hairier elephants.

Unlike the opening segment that was about the Supreme Court tonight, there was actually a lot of humor within Oliver’s discussion on gene editing — whether it be more comparisons between himself or a large bird or him saying, at one point, what so many of us are thinking. Isn’t it a bad idea for people to have access to technology if they don’t know exactly what they are doing?

What we think this segment did a good job at was presenting a rather interesting view of genetic engineering, some of its advantages, and also some of its dangers. There are ways in which it can help many people, but also reasons to be afraid. It really just comes down to usage, making sure it is done responsibly, and also understanding the drawbacks. As Oliver focused on a lab in China, there was also of course a reference through in here to Winnie the Pooh … a reference to China’s Xi Jinping, who already banned Last Week Tonight over his segment on him earlier this year.

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