Transhuman Tuesday – Designer Babies with CRISPR CAS9

Posted By on January 10, 2017

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Each Tuesday Nikolas Badminton, Futurist, summarizes 3 to 5 future looking developments in the realm of  transhuman and cyborg-related technologies.

In Transhuman Tuesday – Designer Babies with CRISPR CAS9 we see Jennifer Doudna, Professor of Chemistry and of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute give a talk about CRISPR-CAS9 gene editing.

Doudna has been a leading figure in what is often referred to as the “CRISPR Revolution” for her early fundamental work and ongoing leadership in the development of CRISPR-mediated genome editing. In their 2012 paper titled A programmable dual-RNA-guided DNA endonuclease in adaptive bacterial immunity, Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier were the first to propose that CRISPR/Cas9 could be used for programmable gene editing, an idea that has since been further developed by many research groups for applications ranging from fundamental protein research to treatments for diseases including sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s disease, and HIV. (taken from Wikipedia)

Prof. Jennifer Doudna – The Future of CRISPR Genetic Engineering

Doudna indicates that using CRISPR for transhuman goals is not yet possible but it is on the table as a future possibility and something to seriously discuss.

Genetic Engineering Will Change Everything Forever – CRISPR by Kurzgesagt


VOX lists some other capabilities being developed with CRISPR

  1. CRISPR can knock out genes to help figure out what different genes actually do
  2. We can use it to engineer plants to improve food security
  3. Dan Voytas, a plant geneticist at the University of Minnesota, runs a lab that’s developing methods to use CRISPR for targeted genome modification of plants. Right now, he says he’s working on herbicide-tolerant varieties of cassava for smallholder farmers in Africa. He is also working to improve rice
  4. Potential Alzheimer’s and parkinsons treatments
  5. Martin Kampmann is a cell biologist at the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of California San Francisco is working to apply CRISPR for brain disease treatments
  6. new cancer treatments
  7. Modify cells to more effectively attack cancer
  8. Make oil or more productive production of biofuel using engineered plants or yeast
  9. Use plants to make drugs and vaccines
  10. Destroy viruses like HIV, herpes, and hepatitis

DIY Bacterial Gene Engineering CRISPR Kit

And, you can even get a $150 ‘DIY Bacterial Gene Engineering CRISPR Kit‘ from The Odin – here (you won;t be able to make designer babies but you’ll be able to learn more about this amazing technology).

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Nikolas Badminton is a world-respected futurist speaker that researches, speaks, and writes about the future of work, how technology is affecting the workplace, how workers are adapting, the sharing economy, and how the world is evolving. He appears at conferences in Canada, USA, UK, and Europe. Email him to book him for your radio, TV show, or conference.


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