Stephen King’s book The Stand and even more recently Justin Cronin’s book Passage portray an apocalyptic world resulting from scientific research gone wrong.
Just as cloning and genetic manipulation brought about the concept of Jurassic Park, a new genetic innovation has up the ante: it is called CRISPR-Cas9.
I looked online for a video that might explain CRISPR in simple, nontechnical language, but even those that claim to be a basic delved too much into DNA/RNA, genetic paring…
So instead I will make an effort to put this into a nontechnical-language explanation.
1. We can picture DNA strands as a rope ladder.
2. Two scientist have come up with a molecular robot that can cut the ladder. This robot is named CRISPR.
3. Diseases like Alzheimer, AIDS, Parkinson, Cancer and even certain heart diseases have an identifiable corrupted DNA signature.
4. CRISPR can be programed to search and identify these corrupted strings of DNA and basically cut them out of the ladder.
5. Cas9 is an attachment to CRISPR and can reconnect the severed ladder ends by replacing the corrupted string with a non-corrupted string.
This is not Science fiction or something that may evolve in the future: it exists at present time and is now being tweaked in genetic experimental laboratories.
This procedure is relative inexpensive, costing less than $300 before pharmaceuticals and hospitals would add their profit margin. This procedure could make humans immune to all the diseases that now kill us off – basically extending our lifespan and keeping us health into old age. Even possibly reversing the aging process
But, the procedure will need testing – human trials to be approved.
Also, like yin and yang, black and white, positive and negative – this procedure has some ethical issues.
Using this simple procedure, you could easily genetically modify Hume beings. It would be easy to insure an unborn baby was a male with black hair and green eye; but you could also adjust his adult height, bone density, muscle density, aggression, intelligence quota etc. In other word you could manufacture a race with individuals designed for certain task.
You can immediately picture Christians opposing this: humans playing God. Christians have opposed every scientific achievement since its conception.
Just as with stem cell research I expect this research will be delayed possibly into the next decade. But, scientist have a history of continuing their research despite opposition – for the sake of science. If they feel they can accomplish a scientific breakthrough they tend to forge ahead.
At the very least, the future could be interesting.