home | email: henrik@bechmann.ca | business website: internetcommons.ca | current projects | about

CRISPR makes genetic engineering available to garage labs

According to Huffington Post a genetic engineering technology called CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) has become inexpensive and reliable enough to become available to anyone with a couple of thousand dollars and a BSc. What's more the genetic changes made can be transferred to children of the effected organisms. And some places, like China, are getting into this in a big way.

Here's a creepy example:

source: Technology Review. The dog on the left was genetically engineered to be more muscled than the dog on the right.

From Wired Magazine:

Using the three-year-old technique, researchers have already reversed mutations that cause blindness, stopped cancer cells from multiplying, and made cells impervious to the virus that causes AIDS. Agronomists have rendered wheat invulnerable to killer fungi like powdery mildew, hinting at engineered staple crops that can feed a population of 9 billion on an ever-warmer planet. Bioengineers have used Crispr to alter the DNA of yeast so that it consumes plant matter and excretes ethanol, promising an end to reliance on petrochemicals.

Apparently, the sky is the limit.

Many scientists are quite worried. It looks to me like something of a miracle to those who will benefit for medical reasons, but another source of chaotic energy for this century.