17 thoughts on “CRISPR”

  1. GATTACA. Blech. I am pretty sure most people will use this to stop most simple diseases and some will go for the cosmetic improvements as well. Problem is we don’t understand the code well enough to do major edits right now in my opinion. So excuse me if I turn Amish or something.

  2. Also, this is the way that I suspect people will get close to clinical immortality or enhanced longevity if it happens. This is why I’ve said before that I think increased longevity will only come for those born after the treatment rather than us old farts.

    1. Nope. CRISPR can be used in living animals, and soon will be used in living humans (if it hasn’t already). It’s looking set to provide the first medical ‘nanobots’.

      There’s been some controversy about it making incorrect edits, but theres new software that’s supposed to dramatically reduce the odds of an incorrect DNA match, and the original study that showed it causing unrelated mutations seems to have been invalid (or at least unreliable).

      1. I would venture to say that the possibility of a bogus edit increases a lot when you have a zillion cells to modify instead of a single one. Plus the testing also becomes incomparably harder to do. If we could target a cell DNA that accurately all cancers would have been cured already. Which they haven’t.

        1. Most of the incorrect edits seem to be due to it latching onto DNA sequences that are similar to the ones it was intended to pick. I believe the new software is supposed to do a comparison against the entire genome to ensure that the DNA segment you pick for targeting won’t be similar enough to any other segment to cause false matches.

          Yes, it will probably still cause a few just by bad luck, but the body should be able to clean those up. A bigger problem right now seems to be ensuring that it affects every cell.

  3. Speaking of GATTACA… How long before they make it a crime to have children “the old fashioned way”? Or will society just let discrimination run its course as in the movie? That movie is looking scarily prescient….

    1. Artificial wombs aren’t that far away, and should be far more reliable than the real ones. I know researchers have now managed to keep animals alive in them for part of their gestation period.

      And now that we can make eggs and sperm from skin cells, you just need a few flakes of skin from the man/woman of your dreams and you can make a baby with them.

      That’s probably going to make for some interesting court cases in the years to come.

        1. That’s just the last part of the pregnancy. Getting something that allows implantation and growth of a placenta looks to be very much harder.

    2. Never because the regnant Left wants as many underclass voters as their wombs can squeeze out. I’m sure they’d want to limit white (i.e. GOP) births, but no real way to do that under current color-blind legal framework — maybe after they go full commie and thrown down the masks…

  4. The question is often, “Just because we can, should we?” The better question might be “If we can, can we not?”

    Gattica was my first thought, but clone wars seems a secondary outcome?

  5. I can’t emphasize enough that everyone should read Jennifer Doudna’s book, “A Crack In Creation” (it’s on Amazon). Every question, doubt, and supposition raised in this comment thread is directly addressed in her book, which is written for easy comprehension by a non-scientifically trained audience (high school drop out me had no trouble at all).

    Also, a Chinese researcher did the first human embryo gene edits a couple years ago. The major ethical concern seems to be that edits be confined to a single patient and not alter the heritable genome. The reported story is an example of research replication.

  6. I remember an episode of Star Trek: TNG where embryos were edited to have a desire for an occupation that the community needed. The children would grow up wanting to be a doctor, for example, when that desire was actually programmed into them. Creepy.

    1. Twilight zone also touched on the topic. Before the change, the person didn’t want it. After the change, they couldn’t imagine not wanting it.

      That seems to me a type of homicide… but one where everybody would be programmed not to care.

      Caring becomes deviancy!

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