Controlling A Human Body With Technology

If you’ve been reading almost any of my previous articles you know that I’m super passionate about all technologies but more specifically AI and Autonomous Vehicles.

I’ve said multiple times that AI will be the highlight of the 2020s and will be the most dominant technology of them all. But recently, I learned about something new.

Now don’t worry I’m not going back on what I said. However, I do want to talk about is what is without a question one of the most underrated technologies.

When I say this will change humans forever, I mean it in the most literal context possible. I’m talking about gene-editing.

What is it?

As I said previously I love AI and AVs. So I would like to introduce you to this technology before I talk about my favorite implication of it.

The name itself says it pretty well but still, it’s good to know how it works. If you’ve never heard of a gene before, it’s pretty much a part of your DNA.

Perfect example

Now the next word, editing. It is 100% exactly how it sounds. This technology is where DNA can be inserted, deleted, modified or replaced in the genome of a living organism.

If you didn’t know genes are literally what makes you, you. Your skin colour, hair colour, eye colour and SO MUCH MORE. Just search up what genes are responsible for if you don’t already know and then come back to this article.

Try to imagine, literally taking that very gene, and then doing whatever you want to it. Making it how you want, taking it out completely and other things.

You literally become a god. The question I keep asking myself as I’m writing this article is why have I never realized how incredible this technology is.

How it actually does it

Every gene has something called the genetic code. It’s exactly like how it sounds, it’s the code for the gene.

Similar to an atomic structure and an atom, the genetic code makes the gene. In other words, every organism has a different genetic code.

This means by using a certain tool we can take that genetic code, change it to a certain thing, and put it back. HOW CRAZY IS THAT?

CRISPR-Cas9

Speaking of a certain tool, that’s where CRISPR comes in. Pretty much, CRISPR is the tool that is used to change the genetic code in a human. I’m not going too in-depth in this article because the purpose of this is to tell you about the implications.

At the same time, it’s super important to gene-editing. Which is why I want to cover the process CRISPR goes through to do it all.

An enzyme called Cas9 acts as a cutting tool that can cut the two strands of DNA at a specific location in the genome. By doing this, bits of DNA can then be added or removed.

Cas9 is paired with something called the guide RNA. If we think of DNA as a blueprint of instructions. Then RNA is what carries out the instructions to create relevant proteins. The guide RNA is what guides Cas9.

It does this by copying and transferring the genetic code from DNA to ensure it makes the relevant proteins. DNA makes RNA. RNA makes proteins.

CRISPR is also revolutionary for the number of different things that it changes compared to old methods. Before we would do things like Cross Breeding, Mutagenesis, Protoplast Fusion, Transgenesis, and Cisgenesis.

But now, CRISPR significantly decreases the time and cost that it took for old methods. It does that while increasing the precision when editing genes, and the general accessibility to the public.

My Favorite Implication

If you’ve heard of this technology before you already know but to those who don’t, it must be crazy to think of how many different things we can do with it.

So many things about the human body rely on genes and to be able to just change it is the next level of futuristic technology.

Personally, one idea I’ve been thinking about recently is using CRISPR to make the human body resistant to diseases. Some of the big ones include cancer and malaria but there is so much more.

Cancer, like many diseases, results from a mutation in a person’s genome. We can identify which part of the genome contains the cancer part by using CRISPR-Cas9. Then we can just replace it with a healthy gene!

That’s CRAZY! When in history would it be possible to literally change a human permanently to what we want? When in history would it be possible to become GOD? These questions just further justify why Gene Editing is one of the coolest technologies out there.

Potential Issues

If this technology was absolutely perfect then there would be no issues with it. Unfortunately, there a couple of reasons why we aren’t actively using it as the number one way to cure things like Cancer and Malaria.

One of the bigger issues is an incomplete gene map. As the name suggests its purpose is to map the genome itself. Which would then be used to take out, replace, or edit a gene. If it would be incomplete, then it would be much harder to successfully edit a gene.

Another thing could be off-target editing. The goal of gene editing is to modify specific DNA sequences, resulting in target mutations. There’s a possibility, though, that DNA sequences other than the target ones could also be changed.

The last, and probably the most common issue is the ethics and usage of it. In 2016, the then-director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, added another item to the WMD list: gene editing.

What’s funny is the fact that CRISPR is so much better than previous methods makes it appealing to terrorist organizations or rogue states.

TL;DR and a couple of thoughts

Gene Editing is truly a display of what our planet is capable of. Unfortunately, there is a reason why it is one of the more controversial technologies.

What’s interesting is that the main reason people think it’s bad is that it’s so powerful. They’re not wrong.

If we can properly figure out all the current problems of gene editing and make it as good as possible, we could be looking at the cure to diseases as well as an influence too much, much more.

So to sum it up 🙂

  • Gene Editing is where we insert, delete, modify or replace a gene.
  • There are so many different implications of Gene Editing but one of the coolest ones is using Gene Editing to cure diseases like Malaria and Cancer.
  • CRISPR-Cas9 is one of the leading methods for Gene Editing because it lowers cost and time while increasing accessibility and precision.
  • There are a couple of issues with technology which include not having a complete gene map, off-target editing and the ethics and usage of it.

Thank you for reading this article, be sure to check my other ones out and connect with me on Linkedin!

https://www.linkedin.com/in/rishi-mehta-12b569140/

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15 y/o working on ending open defecation in Nigeria + increasing the energy density of batteries.

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Rishi Mehta

Rishi Mehta

15 y/o working on ending open defecation in Nigeria + increasing the energy density of batteries.

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