Ok, scary thought already. But, casting aside all the safety concerns, how many attributes would someone in general want to change as an adult? You can't change your height, you can't change your hair color, you can't change your eyes. Is a myostatin-inhibitor going to be the "killer app" of DIY Crispr, so we can all look like a Belgian Blue cow?
As adults, we're still chemical machines. There are a million knobs to tweak.
I was referring specifically to the DIY crowd, which this articles discusses. Things a Dr would say "no, I'm not going to help you with that". Or as the quote discusses, things a drunk person would say "I think this is a good idea".
It's a bizarre case that doctors will help normal people (journalists) experiment with some levels of sport doping, but it comes from knowing a little about the experimental professional sport dopers (where doctors try to stay anonymous.)
To give a different example, what about an anorexic that wants their genes to ensure their desired body image, i.e. 0 retention of normal fat? (Personally, I would be more concerned about bulk experiments in the beauty salons than the tattoo parlours.)
People buy whatever you tell them to buy, provided you give them an emotional reason to buy it. We just had someone try to sell to us in our home today, and when we told them the price was completely unreasonable, they tried to appeal to emotion (we need this sale to get a bonus, so we're willing to give you an awesome price...).
If you're a good enough salesman, you can sell air, as long as they think there's something different about your air.
There certainly at least three grad students who have transformed skin cells w/ eGFP (very very low efficiency w/ Lipofectamine) and one with a cosmetic tumor (later removed after it grew too much)
Unfortunately, I could see things like this becoming illegal solely because they help people play sports too well.
Not necessarily. We as a society have come up with many activities which seem, on their surface, to only harm the individual, but are illegal. This shares many concerns with drug use, gambling, etc.
Killing yourself harms others, and society has a vested interest in the population being healthy and productive. If you harm yourself an ER has to treat you regardless of whether or not you can foot the bill. Perhaps most importantly, you can procreate and pass on defective generic material.
This is far from an issue which only concerns the individual in question.
If you can edit your genes in a bizarre way for cheap, I imagine it wouldn't be very expensive to reverse such a modification.
Alerting the human genome is not as simple as pushing a patch to a website.
If, in the future it is as easy as a $20 modification, I'd wager two things. One is that most people would use it for mundane things like resistance to the flu, stronger bones, and other things that would ultimately lower the cost of medical insurance on average. The other is that the mechanism will be so well known that changes will be rewritable.
Imagine all the data we're just throwing away with people biohacking. That data, properly done by 3rd party non-biohackers, could be invaluable long term. Sure, it wouldn't be as valuable as a massive double blind trial (or w/e), but we're basically talking about "mad scientists" doing experiments in their basements.. I imagine lots can still be learned, if we simply watch.
For instance, if there were a way to make yourself extremely susceptible to becoming obese with $20 on-the-fly gene editing, presumably you (or medical staff) could reverse that. And I can't imagine many people doing the first thing.
I don't imagine the only issues we'd face are the completely and easily reversible with no side effects kind.
Ignoring the fact that you cannot make yourself taller, you're arguing for a completely unregulated ecosystem around gene editing. What you 'wager' is irrelevant; we protected people from themselves in numerous ways because people do dumb things. Are you now arguing that CRISPR and the like should be heavily regulated as to only be used for legitimate medical purposes?
Obviously at this point, all we can do is speculate, and I'm not a medical professional. Perhaps there's some gene modification that will cause uncontrolled gigantism, and perhaps a handful of people will want that. If they do, that's their right.
If gene editing works as imagined, you could have a regulated market like doctors and pharmacies for legitimate medical reasons (such as disease resistance) which would definitely lower overall medical costs since it would be a fantastic form of preventative medicine. As such, people not looking for experimental shit would not come across it by accident. Basically treat it like regular medicine.
But if people want to home brew their own stuff and share mechanisms on the internet, or buy and sell "supplements" as they do today with next to no FDA regulation, they should have that right.
He could also get that way from driving a car, being thrown from a horse, or any number of activities that are a personal choice.
Maybe a bunch of people try this and end up with terrible side effects. Researchers will still be interested in the results if they know what a person did to themself. And then maybe some of them will have good results and then we'll all know. It's a mixed bag and probably a very tiny percent of the population. I say let em go for it.
I find this highly concerning, biological organisms are orders of magnitude more complicated than man made hardware and software.
I think all he will achieve is either giving himself an infection or cancer.
You can change the DNA of specific cells. A change in you skin cell's DNA will not propagate to your bone cells. The skin cell has instructions to make a bone cell, but skin cells do not make use of that part of the code.
The scary thing is that it may require only a small change to change that. Muscle cells also have instructions to make bone and do not make use of that code, except when things go wrong as in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fibrodysplasia_ossificans_prog...
Could someone with actual knowledge fill this in? Am I right? Or am I very wrong?
Gene changes aren't intrinsically infectious; they're only infectious at all because we tend to modify infectious organisms to carry our changes (e.g., viral gene therapy).
His reasons for doing it seem a bit confused. But one interesting point he makes it that it's not particularly expensive or difficult to brew up some CRISPR. If this guy can do it in his garage, imagine what's going on in secret labs elsewhere.
It's not unreasonable that tinkering with dna will unleash some dormant retrovirus.
Does anyone else remember this? Maybe link to the paper, as well?
What does seem likely is that they give both themselves and their germ line a genetic mutation. Editing yourself and then having children would be incredibly irresponsible. If you affect your germ cells, you're not just editing yourself, but all of your descendants.
>So when Zayner saw Ascendance Biomedical’s CEO injecting himself on a live-stream earlier this month, you might say there was an uneasy flicker of recognition.
>Ascendance Bio soon fell apart in almost comical fashion. The company’s own biohackers—who created the treatment but who were not being paid—revolted and the CEO locked himself in a lab. Even before all that, the company had another man inject himself with an untested HIV treatment on Facebook Live. And just days after the pants-less herpes treatment stunt, another biohacker who shared lab space with Ascendance posted a video detailing a self-created gene therapy for lactose intolerance. The stakes in biohacking seem to be getting higher and higher.
>“Honestly, I kind of blame myself,” Zayner told me recently. He’s been in a soul-searching mood; he recently had a kid and the backlash to the CRISPR stunt in October had been getting to him. “There’s no doubt in my mind that somebody is going to end up hurt eventually,” he said.