Gene editing – it sounds like something out of science fiction, right? Sometimes it can feel like every day is a struggle to stay fulfilled, happy and healthy in mind and body, right? Do you ever feel like your body is conspiring against you? Does it feel like you take three steps forward with your health, only to have to take two steps back?
We all know that it can be hard to concentrate on your health when your job and take more out of you than you have to give. We all know that we should be eating more whole foods, exercising more, spending more time in natural surroundings and avoiding sitting in front of screens as much as we can in our free time… But that advice is harder to follow when we’re wiped out after a day of work, doing a job that seems to be squeezing the life out of us. Does this sound familiar?
What if there was a way for us to increase our chances of living a happier healthier life with something like gene science, or genome science?
What is gene editing?
Gene editing is amending the genetic structure of the cells of plants, animals (and maybe even people) for a brighter, healthier future. A new technology called CRISPR has made the process easier and more cost effective than ever before. According to Harvard Business Review, “CRISPR sequences are a crucial component of the immune systems.” Here are just some of the ways in which this gene technology could change our lives.
It could make foods more nutritious
We all know that a healthy body starts with a healthy diet. The trouble is that we need to eat a lot of fresh fruits and veggies (five serves of vegetables and two of fruit per day) to be at our best and this may not be feasible given the busy lives most of us lead. In theory, genetic editing could enhance the nutritional properties of fruits and vegetables meaning that we get the same benefits with greater convenience. Gene editing could also reduce populations of dangerous pests, meaning that there will be less need for harmful and pollutant pesticides.
It could eliminate birth defects
This is where things start to get a little bit frightening. The prospect of designer babies will always be a contentious issue, but gene editing could potentially cure genetic diseases like hemophilia or Huntington’s disease. Whether or not you believe it morally correct, there’s no denying that gene editing could jump start the next stage of human evolution.
It could make cancer a thing of the past
Again, this is just a theory at this point, but looking at gene technology theoretically gene technology could be used to look for cures for major illnesses and chronic conditions. Check out Poseida.com, and you’ll see how gene editing could be used to mutate human cells to be more resistant to cancer. The initial applications of Poseida’s technologies will be in gene therapy and CAR-T product candidates for liver disorders and cancer, respectively.
Gene editing – is it safe?
According to a recent study, “The ideal gene therapy practice is that which replaces the defective gene with a normal allele at its natural location.”
However, “A study of CRIPSR suggests we shouldn’t rush into trying out CRISPR genome editing inside people’s bodies just yet,” says New Scientist. “The technique can cause big deletions or rearrangements of DNA, says Allan Bradley of the Wellcome Sanger Institute in the UK, meaning some therapies based on CRISPR may not be quite as safe as we thought.”
The publication says “Overall, this adds more safety challenges to CRISPR-based gene therapies but it doesn’t compromise its use.”