2018 AMI Online Salon

Future Implications of Using CRISPR-CAS9

Project Details

  • Artist(s):  Vondel Mahon; Baltimore, Maryland
  • Client: Timothy Phelps
  • Copyright: © 2018 Vondel Mahon
  • Medium / software used: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Cinema 4D, Photography
  • Final presentation format: Journal Cover
  • Primary audience: Research Scientist

Project Description

The goal of this assignment was to create an editorial cover illustration using metaphors and symbolism. CRISPR-CAS9, a genome editing tool, is revolutionizing the field of Genetic Engineering. The novelty of this technology is that it gives scientists the ability to modify genes with precision. As promising as CRISPR-CAS9 is, scientists are unable to predict its future implications due to variable efficacy in genome engineering. The illustration shows a DNA double-helix being edited by the hands of a scientist who is using CRISPR-CAS9. DNA is represented by a slightly-worn stone sculpture, which suggests vulnerability and fragility. CRISPR-CAS9 is represented as the tool of the sculptor, which is modifying the DNA at a precise location. At the base of the sculpture, the strand which is being edited has broken off unintentionally, causing the DNA to lose its integrity. The illustration invites scientists to consider the unintended consequences of genetic engineering using CRISPR-CAS9.