September 18, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Tick Tock Genetic Clock: How soon until first DIY CRISPR of self?

I just did a blog post today on the striking story of someone doing DIY CRISPR gene therapy on themselves. A question came to mind.

How long until someone does a DIY attempt to CRISPR themselves?

In the DIY gene therapy story, the person was injected with so-called “gain-of-function” viruses to try to reap health benefits. Doing DIY CRISPR on oneself could be attempted for loss- or gain-of-function of particular genes associated with certain health conditions or traits in specific cells or systemically.

It would be tremendously risky in that it could lead to severe disease or death.

However, it seems only a matter of time until we hear that someone did it DIY style. It is not a question of if, but rather when.

Hopefully they will not harm themselves.

I also hope that they would not do it on human embryos with the intent to make genetically modified human babies, but is there a clear obstacle to an attempt at that?

It seems that we may be experiencing the rare human event of living inside of a technological punctuated equilibrium in biomedical science.

Hang on tight.

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