Evolution is a constant, and our species has already demonstrated how it can change its course of evolution through many years.
The discovery of fire enabled us to cook food, which in turn allowed us to grow stronger and increase our brain capacity.
This growth in our thinking,facilitated our ability to create tools to shape our environment.
We were then able to build cities and learn to express ourselves through writing, art and music.
Today- we have reached a whole new level in Human Evolution.
What if- with a few changes to your genes- you could improveyour memory, think faster, or develop a stronger body with increased stamina?
Maybe you would like to be more attractive, or to live a longer and healthier life?
Perhaps your greatest desire is to be more creative?
Is this a fiction or a real possibility
Evolution is a success story.
Everything that we know as living beings, came about because we adapted to our environment to survive.
We- as humans-are the result of millions of years of evolutionary success.
What is evolution in brief?
Evolution is about passing on the Genome, from generation to generation, adapting constantly and fine- tuning to our environment. This is evolution as we know it.
But have we reached a new way of evolving?
There are 3 possibilities :
1. We have reached our apogee in our evolution as human beings.
2. We are still evolving the natural way.
3. There is an intriguing, frightening and exciting possibility... The Neo Evolution.
What is the Neo Evolution?
An evolution that is guided and chosen by us as individuals in the choices that we will make.
Meet the CRISPR technology
Hacking our DNA has never been so close to a reality. There is a new technology in town and we have now a second path of evolution available to us...
We are entering the era of NEO EVOLUTION
We now have the ability to quickly alter the code of life, and it has given us an unexpected power over the natural world.
How does it work?
Researchers have simply adapted a mechanism called CRISPR-Cas9 that we have in nature to protect us from viruses invaders.
They discovered while studying how a virus infected bacteria, a natural immune system that cuts the invader's DNA, to then store it, on to what we could call a Genetic Memory Card.
If a new attack of this invader occurs, a copy of this Genetic Memory Card is created, to form a sequence that recruits an enzyme design to cut the viral DNA of the virus, preventing it from reproducing.
This has the effect of rendering the virus "harmless".
Scientists have unlocked this process and understand how to adapt this mechanism to disable genes or insert new DNA into any organism.
And it might be one day as easy as executing a Copy and Paste on your computer!
The question is : should we use it?
Today, already certain cultures have self- directed their evolution- for example: by choosing to control the sex of their population.
But in tomorrow’s world, the choice will be much wider, so that, without regulation, the huge potential of this new DNA revolution could be overshadowed by fear or misuse.
Imagine if North Korea’s Kim Jong II, decides to build an army of super- humans with double the muscle mass of a normal human and the endurance of a wolf...
This may seem far- fetched, but already in China, at Guangzhou General Pharmaceutical lab, beagles grown from edited embryos have developed with double the muscle mass of their " normal " cousins. The application at a human level would be no different.
But before thinking of the worst- case scenario…
In which areas of life could we apply this technology for the " better"?
There is already a great deal of "successful" research andmany experiments.
These are mainly in 4 areas :
1. Treating Diseases :
Researchers have already had great results in treating diseases such as AIDS, promising results for the Zica virus and many others.
2. Altering Ecology:
The spread of Malaria could be significantly reduced by introducing disease- resistant genes into the wild mosquito population.
3. Transforming Food:
In certain areas of the world where food is scarce, developing drought-resistant crops could be a solution.
4. Editing Humans?
We are not there yet …many questions need to be answered and important regulations established.
The DNA-revolution has already started.
It is moving fast, making the changes explained above a very real possibility.
The Human Genome Project- which started in 1990- took 13 years and cost 2.7 billions dollars to develop.
Today, you can do the same job for about a 1000 dollars in just few days.
This means it is becoming increasingly available to everybody.
After all, wouldn't you like to know which changes you could make to optimise your life, if this technology was made available to you?
Are you ready for a Directed Evolution?
Are we, as a species, ready to handle such responsibilities?
Meanwhile, the reality today is that you are the designer of your own lifestyle.
You can already alter the expression of your genes to improve your health and performance, and maybe soon, you could become the designer of your own biology.
Would you not eliminate the disease factor of your offspring if you were given a chance?
No more diabetes, a greatly reduced risk of cancer…
“ A HEALTHIER CHILD, FOR YOUR PEACE OF MIND.”
Could this be the catch- line of a CRISPR commercial campaign of the future ?
Would you not be tempted to have super attributes, or hyper capabilities?
Would you not want to live to 120 years of age with no health problems whatsoever?
Would we have the Super – Human Olympics in 2036?
These may be irresistible attractions for many of us, and they have now been made possible, as fictional as it may seem. CRISPR has sparked an explosion of research and heated ethical debate, BECAUSE of its reality.
But with any power, comes responsibility.
It is up to us- as humans-to make the right choices for the better of mankind.
Copywriting by Amanda Hills ( @AmandaHLondon )