Tech News: CRISPR Is Starting to Take Off, Biohackers Able to Self Hack the Genome!

in #science6 years ago

If you don't know about CRISPR, you should.

Jiwoo Lee is one of the many scientists zooming in on potential applications for the technology as a Sophomore at Stanford. “The next five to ten years hold enormous potential for discovery and innovation in medicine,” Lee said.

Lee described just how quickly things are moving. In the last year alone scientists have used Crispr to annihilate malaria-causing mosquitoes, cure Huntington’s disease in mice, and supercharge human immune cells to better seek and destroy cancer.

Think about that for a moment... Diseases that have been around for ages are now finally being eliminated, all through application of this one single technology. If that doesn't fascinate you, maybe I'm doing a poor job explaining the importance of it here...

Even though the federal government has warned and for the most part banned do-it-yourself gene therapy, because of the profitability involved in this new emerging industry, two companies have announced plans to continue offering DNA-altering materials to the public.

The companies, The Odin and Ascendance Biomedical, both recently posted videos online of people self-administering DNA molecules their labs had produced.

This is a very brave and one may argue stupid move to go up against the FDA but many feel that its powers are already far to over-reaching and something needs to be done. They simply have too much power and control over the nation's food supply and available medications.

Following wide distribution of the videos, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week issued a harshly worded statement cautioning consumers against DIY gene-therapy kits and calling their sale illegal. “The sale of these products is against the law. FDA is concerned about the safety risks involved,” the agency said.

It is my estimation that these 'harshly worded statements' won't do much to stop companies from offering these new and exciting gene editing lab kits. If they really want to shut these guys down, they'll have to do more than wag their finger here.

The agency declined to specify what products it was referring to. Executives at both firms said they might be the target of the warning, but they have not been contacted by the FDA.

Of course this article came with a sensational title which referred to bio-hackers. Essentially, as long as these companies offer the genetic tools to commit DIY gene editing in a small lab or at home, the biohackers will be obliged to give this new amazing technique a spin around the block!

Last month, Josiah Zayner, CEO of The Odin, which sells DIY biology kits and supplies through its website, posted a video in which he injected himself with the gene-editing tool CRISPR during a biohacker conference in California. That video has been viewed more than 58,000 times on YouTube.

Josiah Zayner may be the victim of many labels at this point, some of which being brilliant, supid, wreckless, brave and so on... He is a bio-hacker. He injected himself with the CRISPR tool and made an attempt to implement some sort of a change in his molecular biology. Want a faster metabolism, bigger muscles, a larger sexual organ? These things may not be too far away from reality. Welcome to the future!

What are your thoughts on bio-hacking? Do you think this gives people reason for concern or is this more of a publicity stunt?

I'm not a scientist obviously but the ramifications seem quite large if this bio-hacking CRISPR technology gets into the hands of people who know how to use it to make real lasting changes in human DNA.

Please leave your thoughts and comments below!

Thanks for reading.

Biohackers Disregard FDA Warning on DIY Gene Therapy - Technology Review

Silicon Valley’s Tech Elite Zoom in on Crispr - Wired

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Technology Review



All the worlds technologies are developing exponetially faster, they will soon merge together to create scary things!

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