John Yarrow: Genetic Enhancements Near You
Yes, I'm on my soapbox again . . . and yes, about one of my favorite topics. CRISPR is a gene editor that uses bacterium to splice into DNA. Incredibly, this thing can target specific genes, and replace the code with new code.
This is such a significant discovery that universities and companies are fighting over the patent rights. In the meantime, we go right along with thinking of new ways to use this monstrosity. Wow! Who is overseeing this worldwide? I keep saying no one. Before diving into that, let's look at what it can do.
First, we are quickly thinking of ways to cure diseases in people. The therapeutic options are tremendous and will revolutionize medicine in the next twenty to thirty years. Say goodbye to HIV, or leukemia, or other forms of cancer. Your blood could be removed and then CRISPR would fix your DNA, eliminating the cancer from your helix of life in each cell.
You're probably thinking that is all well and good, but only rich people will be able to afford this. That's not necessarily true, although politics and greed could keep it that way. But CRISPR is relatively cheap compared to other medical procedures. And the cost keeps going down.
Of course, there is that whole debate about who decides who lives and who dies. Even now we are a world of haves and have nots, but that is another blog for another time. The point is, we can and are doing it now. I know our scientific community is in high gear with this incredible technological breakthrough.
Oh, dang . . . I forgot to mention that this can and will be used for life enhancements. Want to make your baldness go away? Want stronger muscles? Better eyesight? Change the color of your hair without dye? Absolutely. Just take a CRISPR pill. It's not any different from plastic surgery, right?
Now we jump into the scary part, curing future generations. Want a perfect baby? Who doesn't? We all want our children to be healthy and happy. Pretty soon, you'll be able to decide what your baby will look like, intelligence, etc. Designer babies are a foregone conclusion.
When will our genetics change enough to create a new classification of homo sapiens? What happens when we splice DNA from other animals into ourselves to provide enhancements that we never thought possible? What if you could smell like a dog? See like a hawk? Swim like a dolphin? Pretty mind boggling.
Oh, yeah . . . I should mention CRISPR is growing at an exponential rate as more of the scientific community embraces it.
No one's home watching the shop.
It's the world we live in.
About the Author...
John Yarrow, a lifelong Texan, dreams as big as he writes. Leanne Yarrow is her husband's collaborative partner. Their fascination with what could be imbues the couple's storytelling with fast-paced, futuristic worlds in which witty compelling characters struggle for an enduring humanity. John's background includes degrees in English, Education, and a MS in Cognitive Systems. He honed his skills in The Creation Factory Writer's Workshop, adapted a novella for National Public Radio, and published articles in educational and technology journals. Leanne draws from her careers in education and program development to help bring fresh insights, incredible imagery, and clarifying details to their work.