Tags: Health Topics | dna | scientists | biohackers | biological ethics

Biohackers Edit Their Own DNA Using Basic Tools

Biohackers Edit Their Own DNA Using Basic Tools
(Mary Altaffer/AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 15 November 2017 11:14 PM

A new technology allows people to alter their own DNA, raising questions about ethics and whether the practice should be regulated.

New Scientist reported on the use of CRISPR, a process that can change DNA and, therefore, alter human genes.

Former NASA fellow Josiah Zayner is one of the world's prominent biohackers and has altered his DNA several times. A biochemist by trade, he has injected himself with new DNA that excluded a gene that regulates muscle growth, a jellyfish protein that makes things glow, and even a concoction of a donor's DNA to help get rid of his irritable bowel syndrome.

CRISPR researcher Robin Lovell-Badge of London's Francis Crick Institute told New Scientist Zayner's homemade gene editing is "foolish" and could lead to long-term problems.

New Scientist reported others in the biohacker community are ready to start experimenting on themselves as they attempt to alter their genes.

Outside profiled Zayner in September and described the process of gene editing, which is not all that difficult for someone with the right tools and the proper skillset.

"I think we could do substantial changes to ourselves right now," Zayner said. "You could go a little more crazy than scientists have been willing to let on."

It was reported Wednesday a man in California is the first patient to undergo therapy scientists hope will change his DNA to the point he is cured of a metabolic disease called Hunter syndrome.

"We cut your DNA, open it up, insert a gene, stitch it back up. Invisible mending," said Dr. Sandy Macrae, president of Sangamo Therapeutics. "It becomes part of your DNA and is there for the rest of your life."

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A new technology allows people to alter their own DNA, raising questions about ethics and whether the practice should be regulated.
dna, scientists, biohackers, biological ethics
277
2017-14-15
Wednesday, 15 November 2017 11:14 PM
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