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Genetic Singularity Event: CRISPR editing

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#1 mag1

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Posted 03 May 2015 - 06:41 PM


The recent announcement that CRISPR technology has been used to genetically edit a human embryo has substantial implications for humanity. It would not be unfair to say that we now live in a very different world.

 

The endless arguments about nature versus nurture, and claims of different characteristics of different groups of people need now to be reconsidered in light of the CRISPR breakthrough. What are the social and political implications of a future society that did not have a substantial proportion of its population with medical issues? What role, if any, would government play in such a future? The future will be very different from what has happened up to this point in history.

 

The profound changes that genetic engineering with CRISPR (and possibly other technologies) deserves a thread on this forum. I am very excited about the possibilities in store. Anyone else interested?


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#2 Kalliste

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Posted 03 May 2015 - 06:48 PM

I am excited but lots of work remains to be done before we can start rewriting our own genome. I would definetly want to reprogram certain aspects of my biochem. But we are nowhere near.

Are we going to call everything Singularity now. That word is meaningless.


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#3 mag1

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Posted 03 May 2015 - 07:08 PM

I wanted to include the word "Singularity" in the thread title because CRISPR technology likely will create a profound disruption in human society.

 

The Singularity, related more to robots and computers, is thought to be decades in the future, while it is still not entirely clear what technology

will be required to initiate it. However, it would not be unreasonable to suggest that CRISPR technology has now brought us closer to the main singularity event. The main constraint in achieving the singularity is intelligence-- a quality that might now be genetically engineered into humans with CRISPR.

 

With genetic engineering the problem appears largely solved. CRISPR has been used for years in other animals.

Internet discussion by those knowledgeable about CRISPR consider that none of the technical issues presented in the recent journal article pose

any significant issues.  Tellingly, the recent statement by scientists calling for a moratorium on CRISPR research in humans was motivated by

the fear that CRISPR would soon be shown to be possible in humans. This has now been demonstrated.

 

This is truly a new world. We should now challenge those who express genetic assumptions about genetic determinism, group characteristics etc.

that might now be outdated.

 

A world filled with health and well-being, genius and wealth! Count me in.

I have had enough of this dismal world of dysgenics.


Edited by mag1, 03 May 2015 - 07:13 PM.


#4 niner

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Posted 03 May 2015 - 09:56 PM

I dunno mag, I think you're getting a bit ahead of yourself.  At this point, I don't think we have enough knowledge of the genome and its phenotypic consequences to create an ideal person, much less an ideal world.  Even if we did, the societal context is critical.  If people immediately started creating designer babies, the pushback would be rapid and forceful.  Before we can have designer babies, we're going to have to be able to guarantee a fair shake for all the normal people out there.  We are very far from that today.  Another aspect of this is that everyone who is already born is out of luck for the time being.  Thus, before CRISPR can have a society altering impact, a couple very difficult things will have to happen.



#5 mag1

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Posted 03 May 2015 - 10:14 PM

CRISPR dramatically changes the complexity of solving medical problems. For example, it was expected that Alzheimer's would bankrupt every modern society (until the recent results with the amyloid antibody). Yet, even without this breakthrough, a single change in the human genome (see url below) would stop the dementia epidemic.

 

 

http://www.nature.co...ature11283.html

 

The social costs of not rapidly moving ahead with CRISPR are immense. It is sad that some people might actually think that they in some way benefit from their current

position in the current hierarchy and would be better off with the status quo. Such thinking indicates a profound lack of intelligence. Some people might want to rule such a world, though an insightful observer should be willing to relinquish any such possible advantage to live in the coming genetically engineered future. Fortunately, the stakes are so high with CRISPR that it seems likely that a nation will break ranks with the Western anti-technology bloc. When this happens the gap between the modified and unmodified will be painfully obvious. It would then only be a question of remembering to tell the last one left in nations with a scientific moratorium to turn out the lights.

 

As citizens, parents, and family members we have a social responsibility to ensure that our communities make wise choices with the available technology. If our government chooses to deny us our rights, we can go to other nations that will respect fundamental rights. 


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#6 corb

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Posted 03 May 2015 - 10:31 PM

CRISPR is interesting but, and it's a big but, we're yet to discover a vector capable of delivering it's payload efficiently and safely to a large number of cells in vivo.

Which is why even though it was available for years it only became the center of drama when someone decided to use it on germline.

 

I'm more interested in what this could do for medicine rather than creating "perfect" humans. Modified stem cells and mitochondria and so on.



#7 Antonio2014

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Posted 04 May 2015 - 05:40 AM

Can someone post a link to the news that CRISPR has been applied to a human embryo?



#8 Kalliste

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Posted 04 May 2015 - 06:00 AM

Google it. They did some none viable fetuses "for teh lulz" and everyone got worried. I think there is still a lot of time to go before human use. There is every possibility that there will be some weird complication in humans like the storing of important info in the Centrioles. Bio is always a mess. Society has the "lets make sure none gets hurt doing this even though millions will die of aging meanwhile" safety attitude. Remember the gene edit disaster of the late 90's.
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#9 xEva

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 03:12 AM

What are the social and political implications of a future society that did not have a substantial proportion of its population with medical issues?


You seem to assume that disease is the result of faulty genes and that fixing those genes will result in good health. This is probably true when it comes to obvious genetic errors that result in this or that known 'syndrome'. But in your AD example, that's not a genetic error they are talking about. That's a polymorphisms, a perfectly normal genetic variation, which only predisposes one to the disease. You cannot fix those -- I mean, technically, of course you can, but why would you want to?

The thing is, there is no such thing as perfect heath by itself. Health is relative to the the environment one is in, and that includes various factors from climate to type of food to the types of pathogens one can encounter in it. So, health is sort of a function of how well an organisms can deal with this or that specific environment or just a factor in it. And of course, genetic variations that are good for some environments may not be that good for others.

One well-kown example is the polymorphism in one of the immune system genes that makes one resistant to HIV; that's the up side. The downside is that the same variant makes one predisposed to ankylosing spondylitis primary sclerosing cholangitis-- and predisposition is not a sentence; whether disease will manifest depends on the environment.

The other example is another immune system gene for interleukin 28B. People with CC polymorphism have a good chance of clearing hepatitis C virus on their own, without treatment; while people with CT or especially TT polymorphism, can fail even a long interferon-based therapy. I have a hunch that down the road it will turn out that TT variant is the best for some other disease.

And specific pathogens is just one factor in the environment. The other is food -- its availability and quality, the type, etc. And then there is multitude of other factors, including the social ones. Humans colonized the whole planet and live in diverse environments (and now we have big plans for space). This makes the idea of attaining perfect health through genetic manipulation untenable in principle, because what is the best genetic combination depends on the specific environment.

 

Edit: changed ankylosing spondylitis to primary sclerosing cholangitis per xEva's request. -moderator


Edited by niner, 21 September 2015 - 01:57 AM.

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#10 mag1

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 04:44 AM

Thank you everyone for commenting on this topic! I really need to talk about this one.

Our world has changed forever, and in my newspaper, at least, the story was buried on the second page. 

This story should have been front paged! It is the largest story of the last few decades (probably ever).

 

It is really difficult to imagine that there has been a collective sigh of boredom and a fast return to TV land for most.

I need to talk this one through, thanks everyone.

 

Yes, I do think that disease (or even the normal cognitive phenotype expected from the "unfolding of the human genetic blueprint") can be a result of faulty genes. The Alzheimer disease research community considers the development of Alzheimer's dementia an inevitable consequence of the unfolding of the human genetic blueprint.

 

"...This indicates that irrespective of the claims of the beta-amyloid theory regarding specific genetic causation of AD, the entire process is clearly embedded within the blueprint of the general aging human population and regardless of specific genetic factors that may accelerate the process in some individuals."

 

(Quote from page 9-10 of http://taurx.com/upl...apter-hd[1].pdf).

 

The TauRx site has additional light before-bed reading at http://taurx.com/sci...lications.html and also http://taurx.com/alh...ific-basis.html

Their website notes that virtually everyone develops at least Braak stage 2 neuro-degeneration by age 90 (see page 10 of the above pdf).

 

The problem with the APP mutation is that the disease preventing mutation is only present in 1 in 10,000 people. Everyone else has the "normal" disease causing form. 

Without genetic engineering it would likely take 100,000s of years (or longer) for the mutant allele to spread into the human population. It is not entirely clear whether having clear cognition at 100 would improve one's reproductive fitness. Notably, the most important risk factor for Alzheimer's  APOE epsilon 4 is the ancestral allele and after 250,000 years is still present in 15-20% of humans. A single round of CRISPR in the population would spare humanity from suffering from dementing illness ever again. Sign me up for an investment that would let me capture some of those positive returns!

 

Hopefully, such information will provoke some to contemplate what a future without genetic engineering might be like, as pushing human life expectancy much beyond 90 would result in 100% cognitive impairment in that age range. We have drifted into a dementia crisis. Without an effective treatment modern society was expected to be unable to shoulder the burden ($1 trillion per year expense in the US in the next few decades, social consequences,  etc.). Solving the problem with genetic engineering would be so much easier... a single genetic modification with technology that has been out there for years.    

 

Furthermore, the current understanding of the genetics of schizophrenia suggests that upwards of 10,000 common genetic variants are involved. It seems that extensive genetic editing will be required to reduce the risk of such illnesses in the community. It is not a far stretch to suggest that we already have sufficient knowledge to define the genetic space that would lead to a low medical intervention life. After examining a family member's exome it quickly became obvious that editing of some of the variants would have resulted in a life of higher well-being for that person and all future generations. 

 

 

Governments around the world have seen the future and are redefining the meaning of human ethical conduct. European nations have already allowed the euthanasia of children, and of people with non-life-threatening conditions. We are entering a profoundly troubling time. The science to effectively treat many of these conditions has already been developed, though financial resources are the limiting constraint.

 

The sloganeers are already hard at work contemplating how to position their masters as heroes for denying their citizens basic human rights. It should be painfully obvious, notwithstanding their best efforts, that they are the modern incarnations of human rights perpetrators that they are trying so desperately to ascribe to others. We need to get ahead of their distorting slogans, seize the dialogue, and communicate a pro-genetic engineering position. The consequences for ignoring this and hoping it will just go away will likely be significant.

 

Unsurprisingly, people with disabilities have been selected as this generations victims. Surprisingly, the obvious solution of genetic engineering is being sidelined. Ethical arguments against genetic engineering need to address current real world practices and explain how genetic engineering could be worse than such practices.          


Edited by mag1, 06 May 2015 - 04:47 AM.


#11 corb

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 10:40 PM

Hopefully, such information will provoke some to contemplate what a future without genetic engineering might be like, as pushing human life expectancy much beyond 90 would result in 100% cognitive impairment in that age range. We have drifted into a dementia crisis. Without an effective treatment modern society was expected to be unable to shoulder the burden ($1 trillion per year expense in the US in the next few decades, social consequences,  etc.). Solving the problem with genetic engineering would be so much easier... a single genetic modification with technology that has been out there for years.    

 

...

 

Governments around the world have seen the future and are redefining the meaning of human ethical conduct. European nations have already allowed the euthanasia of children, and of people with non-life-threatening conditions. We are entering a profoundly troubling time. The science to effectively treat many of these conditions has already been developed, though financial resources are the limiting constraint. 

 

You are under the assumption there is a drive in the general public to live above the age of 80 regardless of health, right now.
As you have noticed the pro-death sentiment is extremely strong in Europe and it's only growing stronger by the decade.
A lot of European countries are suffering from a social and economic collapse and they are using their aging populations as the scapegoat. I don't see this changing in the foreseeable future - if at all.

As for the arguments against genetic modification to the human germline - it's mostly made up of straw men - but they are straw men perpetuated for so long they've become ingrained in the mind of the populace as fact. The only way for the world to break away from this is for some country to damn the consequences and to add genetic screening and therapy(against disease, anything else would be pushing the limits right now) in their health care system.

Every other somewhat liberal country will be forced to follow suit. But it's a process of acceptance that might take decades if not centuries.

 

 



#12 mag1

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 11:50 PM

Our family is currently coping with a family member with severe Alzheimer's dementia who is above the age of 80. It has been quite a surprise to us how well our loved one has done while being cared for by the family. Most of the time our loved one is happy and quite healthy. Everyone associated with her care has told us that our loved one is doing much better by receiving care from us than from professional care.  Providing care in this way has saved a substantial amount of money for everyone.

 

The behavior of European countries regarding the care of its most vulnerable members is very disturbing. It is difficult to comprehend how such a policy could be contemplated, given the human rights transgressions of the past. Sadly, the European policy is now spreading. Canada is now contemplating a European style understanding of the rights of the disabled. It is all too easy to abuse the rights of a minority. Oddly, modern nations are choosing to perpetrate

what reasonably should be considered crimes against humanity, even though CRISPR technology has been on the table for years.

 

The humans rights abuse policy will need to be implemented over the long term to contain continually escalating costs, while CRISPR could be a one off event. It is very disappointing that modern governments have not been able to step up and show leadership on CRISPR. This would be a great project that the world community could cooperate on. The cost would be minimal: the payback eternal.

 

 

I wanted to get out there swinging on this topic. Sure, this is more mud wrestling than polite discussion, but there is some very disturbing behavior that has been legalized and people of conscience should step forward and throw their fair share of the mud. All this talk about how it is ethically unacceptable to contemplate genetic engineering is in glaring contradiction to the current practice of euthanizing what would appear to be healthy children. We can no longer allow empty ethical rhetoric,

while such abuse is underway. The question to those opposing genetic engineering is what form of euthanasia will they use on children?

 

The real politik of the current situation is self evident. America was facing a one trillion dollar per year dementia tag. There is no possible way that such an expense could have been shouldered. Europe would be facing similar burdens. Europe has decided that the only way that such future expenses could be made manageable is through diminishing their care for very vulnerable people. It is always the easy way out. One percent of the population likely generates 50 percent of the medical expense. We need to grab this one by the collar. People will not be performing their duty as citizens with responsibility for the actions of their governments by simply repeating ingrained half-truths. I wanted to point out that people who thought that they had somehow staked out the moral high ground by rejecting genetic engineering are actually the modern abusers. 

 

 

This thread can address the implications of not doing genetic engineering. It is all too likely true that every liberal democracy is now headed toward the fate of Europe.

We really need to think seriously about this issue now before necessity dictates our choices.

 

Will we allow our humanity to be taken away from us because we were not smart enough to use the genetic engineering technology that we have developed?

 



#13 niner

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 12:23 AM

the current practice of euthanizing what would appear to be healthy children

 

 

Wait, what?  Where are people euthanizing healthy children?  People in Asia are aborting healthy fetuses in order to get a male child, although the Chinese government is cracking down on that as their gender ratio is already totally screwed up from the old One Child Policy error.   Is that the sort of thing you mean by healthy children?   Presumably not if "healthy" includes "is able to live outside the womb".  So where is this happening?



#14 mag1

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 12:31 AM

Europe has expanded the conditions under which euthanasia is legal.

It is clear that this really was a slippery slope argument.

Now that everyone has gotten used to the first wave of euthanasia practice, they are moving on to an even more liberal conception.

 

For example, those who might have depression, those who might have hearing impairment, children etc.

 

Some of the illnesses they are including as euthanizable are entirely treatable with modern best practice. Their policy clearly is more related to cost containment than appropriate medical treatment. 


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#15 niner

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 01:57 AM

Can you point to any healthy children in Europe that have been euthanized?  Any unhealthy children?



#16 mag1

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 02:02 AM

It has been noted that there has been an ongoing relaxation of standards for euthanasia in Europe. It can be said that the url below

provides strict conditions. However, the conditions under which it is practiced in Europe appears to be broadening.

 

http://www.cnn.com/2...dren/index.html



#17 xEva

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 03:19 AM

@mag1: I'm sorry your loved one has Alzheimer's and it's been a strain on your family. You sound very distressed. When you feel better, consider that this assumption may not be true -- and if so, what happens then to the rest of your argument?
 

Yes, I do think that disease ... can be a result of faulty genes. The Alzheimer disease research community considers the development of Alzheimer's dementia an inevitable consequence of the unfolding of the human genetic blueprint.

"...This indicates that irrespective of the claims of the beta-amyloid theory regarding specific genetic causation of AD, the entire process is clearly embedded within the blueprint of the general aging human population and regardless of specific genetic factors that may accelerate the process in some individuals."

(Quote from page 9-10 of http://taurx.com/upl...apter-hd[1].pdf).


Your "can" above (in "can be a result of faulty genes") does not support your very urgent call to start ASAP every woman wanting to be a mother on engineered in vitro fertilization.

The quote you supplied sounds like it actually discounts "specific genetic causation of AD." I'm too lazy to look up the context though. From what I observe around myself, AD or even dementia, is/was not the fate of every elder living to late 80s-mid 90s. So, how is it "embedded within the blueprint of the general aging human population", if it is not true for all? (this is a rhetorical question, not need to answer it).

Also, when you consider that "the disease preventing mutation is only present in 1 in 10,000 people [while] everyone else has the "normal" disease causing form", you should ask why this mutation is so widespread and what advantage it may confer, even if this advantage may come at the price of maybe getting AD, if --and this was a very big if throughout the ages-- the person lives to 90.

What I'm saying is that you're too quick to jump the gun. When you find that you're the only one to see "the largest story of the last few decades (probably ever)", while the rest of the world lets "a collective sigh of boredom", it's only prudent to consider that perhaps you are the one who did not get it quite right, ah?

..and bringing in dying --sorry euthanized!-- children into discussion ain't helpful either.
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#18 Kalliste

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 04:38 AM

We can just call anything a singularity Mag. The advent of writing. The first printing press. The atomic bomb. ENIAC, the first integrated processor.

 

Hell why not call the first humanoids a singularity event? It can be argued that humanity is a hard takeoff from evolution.

 

But to be honest, Crispr is not the singularity. It's not even close. Ten years from now only a handful of people will have been genetically modified and the results will probably be ambiguous. Throw in some accident or malfunction that gets too much attention and it might be even longer before regulation permits easy research to be done. I'm going to be happy if genetic surgery becomes available in the early 2030's.



#19 mag1

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 04:48 AM

Yes, I realized that it seemed a contradiction to include the "specific genetic causation" quote. Additional AD genetics research shows that the AD age of onset curves for almost all genotypes

(APOE 44, APOE 34, APOE 33 (with the inclusion of the TOMM40 523 genotypes)) reach 100% by at least the mid-90s, if not before. There is a selective effect involved. Those with intact cognition are the ones most likely to survive. There are genotypes that would help protect cognition for example APOE 2 and the APP protective allele. An important point to consider is that for many people their life expectancy has fallen just short of experiencing clinical dementia. The "embedded within the human blueprint" quote might be understood as referring to this. For many people, living a few extra years would push them into an MCI / early AD diagnosis. 

 

The pdf noted that 100% of 90 year old have some level of Alzheimer neurodegeneration. This should not be interpreted as an actual AD diagnosis. A casual observer might not have any insight into such subtle impairment. In fact, our loved one's doctor was not entirely sure of the diagnosis even after we had been aware of it for years.

 

The protective APP mutation is not widespread. The "normal" disease causing form of the SNP  (rs63750847) is the ancestral allele. In American samples the protective mutation is very rare (about 1 in 10,000). However, in Scandinavia it is present in about 1 percent of the population. It appears that this variant has actually been positively selected there. This mutation might have arisen sometime in the last few centuries (?). Evolution is a fairly slow process. This variant obviously has adaptive benefit. I suppose without CRISPR technology, we could always wait several hundred thousand years until this variant triumphs, though doing so would result in an extraordinary amount of human tragedy.  

 

It should not be assumed that ancestral alleles are necessarily evolutionarily superior to these newer variants. The rapid expansion in the human population during the last few centuries has created considerable genetic variation which will (without CRISPR) require an extended period of time to diffuse into the human gene pool.

 

It is surprising how often breakthroughs are largely ignored by the wider population. Science breakthroughs have an especially difficult time capturing the imagination. Another trial will often need to be done etc. . I have begun to appreciate through time that relying on mass society to be of assistance in unraveling questions of science is misguided. Democracy simply does not apply to high level ideas. The manner in which a possible cure for cancer (3-bromopyruvate) has stagnated for 15 years now is a particular disappointment.

 

When I have went onto websites of those with knowledge of CRISPR technology, there is substantial agreement that this is big news. How would having the ability to modify your genome not fundamentally change the nature of being human?

 

The European poster knew exactly where those comments about euthanasia were coming from. Europe appears ready to appall the world again. Europe is somewhat difficult to appreciate from the New World perspective, though the comments that were made were quite terrifying and plausible. Genocide has been a recurring feature of European life probably for centuries. I wanted to shake out some comments that would admit the actual current situation (especially in Europe). 

 

The quotes below confirm my fears. It is interesting to note that cures are emerging for many of the illnesses which are the focus of the euthanasia debate (for example, ALS).  

This does not appear to have in any way swayed those advocating liberalization of the policy.  Startling curing illnesses simply might be viewed as another expense driver.

 

As you have noticed the pro-death sentiment is extremely strong in Europe and it's only growing stronger by the decade.
A lot of European countries are suffering from a social and economic collapse and they are using their aging populations as the scapegoat.

 

Every other somewhat liberal country will be forced to follow suit.   (quoted out of context)

 

 
 



#20 mag1

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 05:53 AM

In terms of singularity events, I think one thing to keep in mind is that only in the modern era (the last century) has it been possible for technology

to quickly saturate the marketplace. {I find it quite disappointing that 70,000 years ago an advanced human civilization (for that time) gave up the torch

and faded away. How many would not now want to live in a world that was 10,000 years further developed technologically?}

 

Until the modern era, any advance was precarious and might take centuries (or longer to diffuse). Even in our era it is discouraging to see how little take up of the internet has 

occurred in sub-Saharan Africa.

 

To my mind, a singularity event requires an undeniable breaking with the past on a timescale of at least less than a lifetime. The printing press, language, fire etc. would not qualify 

using such a definition. These events were surely monumental though the changes that resulted required timescales that often stretched beyond millennia.

 

Even the skeptics on this thread admit that CRISPR is likely not far away on the horizon. Admittedly, I am motivated to post on this site partly because I want to help stimulate the dialogue.

The typical roll out of these genetic technologies has been on a time scale of decades.

 

Clearly, if we were now talking about a newly invented microchip etc. no one on this thread would be suggesting that it would be necessary to wait decades while the ethical and social implications were endlessly contemplated. I have commented on this before on the Employment Crisis: Robots ... thread. All this endless delay will simply mean that humans will become increasingly marginalized by technology. CRISPR gives humanity a chance to stay in the game a little longer. Without such cognitive enhancement it is difficult to imagine that humans even have a decade or two of continued relevance left. Ironically when it becomes painfully obvious that CRISPR is actually required for humans to have a chance to compete with technology, it will be far too late. If CRISPR is pushed aside (as it well might) the singularity force will simply migrate toward infotech.   

 

Our best chance is with those who are desperate. Think of those nations that would have very little to lose by trying CRISPR. Or consider those people who are certain to develop some terrible disease. What valid ethical argument could assert that a ban on CRISPR should be absolute, in spite of personal circumstances?

 

The technology appears to be used routinely in labs. Getting it right does not seem to be that high a hurdle. The embryo could be endlessly sequenced before any implantation occurred. All the risk of unwanted mutations would have addressed. For those who wanted a way to leapfrog every other nation CRISPR seems ideal. CRISPR technology would create a new humanoid species. It would not be necessary to wait eons for evolutionary processes to unfold.

 

 

 

If we stayed away from ambiguities and simply chose variants of large positive effect CRISPR could easily prove itself. (Much of the GWAS era of research was looking for the common variants that had negligible influence. With the APP finding and many others we are finding some large effect variants).  

 

 

As I mentioned, a single gene edit for APP would result in preserved cognition into advanced age.

There is a genetic variant that allows for instant memory.

 

The assumption that CRISPR technology could not be now used to create an extremely highly functioning individual is misguided.

As I mentioned, if CRISPR were so used, the main singularity event that is approaching would likely arrive considerably sooner.

 

 



#21 Steve H

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Posted 12 May 2015 - 07:23 AM

CRISPR is most likely going to be used to edit multiple genes at once in a person outside of FDA and EU in the next few years. Single gene therapies are already being explored with some groups planning to take things like hTERT, Myostatin inhibitors and other gene therapies via viral vectors into the human model. CRISPR will allow multiple sites to be hit at once but it is early days for the technology, I think a lot more work will be done with single gene solutions for the next few years personally.

 

Bioviva Sciences, Dr Fossell, Dr Blasco and others are pushing to get such things into Human testing, the big problem is the previously mentioned perceived safety aspects of gene therapy (AAV delivery for example is considerably more accurate and safe than it was historically). Very recently a gene therapy was used to reasonable effect treating Beckers MD at the Nationwide Childrens Hospital (not allowed to link to the study) which used a Follastatin Myo Inhibitor to improve muscles, it dramatically improved some of the patients. 

 

I also blame Hollywood somewhat for its dystopian image of genetic modifcation which has done a great deal to put such therapies in a bad light. Bottom line gene therapy is potentially a very powerful tool but I think the first port of call should be fixing the basics before moving into augmentation and Eugenics. 



#22 mag1

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Posted 12 May 2015 - 11:08 PM

Back alley genetic engineering labs are one of my biggest fears if leadership is not shown on this issue. If CRISPR is simply left in limbo without clear guidelines in how this will be moved forward safely by the world community, we likely will have an ever increasing black market in genetic services. The unbridgeable gap that would emerge between the modifieds and unmodifieds would be too apparent to ignore. Such a gap would shred the social fabric that binds humanity together. Such a result would be inevitable and would happen quickly.  People are born psychometricians / people watchers etc. . Subtle differences between people have always been perceptible to typical observers. Without leadership soon there will be a desperate attempt to try and catch up with the technology.

 

It is very disappointing that world leaders have not already stepped forward and proposed a great project for CRISPR. CRISPR could be the great uniter of humanity: If an organized plan is not soon introduced, it will surely become the great divider. The class divisions within societies today are largely based on small genetic effects that ultimately result in regression to the mean. Genetic effects with CRISPR could be large and permanent. It appears all too plausible that Western countries with their high ethical standards will be leapfrogged with CRISPR by more desperate nations.

 

Yes, it is a real tragedy that Hollywood is a significant source of higher education for our society. I would not have believed that in the past, though I do now. Emotional arguments triumphing over rational arguments. Such discourse will not help us work through the challenges ahead with CRISPR. The crowd pleasing choice of hoping it will all just blow over is hopelessly misguided and dangerous.



#23 mag1

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Posted 21 May 2015 - 03:03 AM

I guess it's a start. They want to have a conference to talk about this gene changing thing.

I just hope it is not one of those let's talk about maybe doing CRISPR, ... and then everyone has had their say

they bring out their verdict on cues cards which read NO WAY!

 

 

http://www.sabc.co.z...ting-technology


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#24 Steve H

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Posted 21 May 2015 - 09:11 AM

Mag1 even if they do it will just go offshore like some Biotech already has to experiment. I think gene therapy should be approached with due caution but in the same token I do not think we should sit on our hands and let certain elements of society hold back science. Should we use gene therapy to fix disease and intervene with aging? Absolutely right we should!


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#25 platypus

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Posted 21 May 2015 - 01:24 PM

I wonder when someone tries to introduce smarter pets via genetic engineering. This is already a moral quagmire.

 

ps. The right to end one's life is a fundamental human right, so in this sense voluntary euthanasia is not a problem. 



#26 mag1

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Posted 21 May 2015 - 05:14 PM

Yeah, that is quite right about offshoring. It would just be so much better (and safer) if we could all be grown ups about this. If there could just be some sort of leadership on this issue, we wouldn't have to

go through some pathetically horrendous fail, with the inevitable I-told-you-that-we-shouldn't-be-messing-with-genes farce. If that were to happen, polite conversation about CRISPR would be off grounds.

 

Real leadership would be standing up, accepting that CRISPR has arrived, and pledging to provide the necessary resources to develop this technology for those who wanted it.

Genetic engineering should be understood as a fundamental human right that resides with parents and not governments. It is a great concern that a conference will simply try to simplify a complex topic.

As has become increasingly obvious over the last few decades, humanity is quite diverse-- psychologically, culturally, socially, genetically... . It would simply be appalling if this conference decided that

a blanket moratorium was in order. It would be extremely disrespectful to the many struggling with genetic illnesses who would derive great benefit from CRISPR technology.

 

It is encouraging, though, that this will be an international conference. At international conferences, in general, it is usually a miracle if they can even agree on what shape the conference table should be.

Hopefully, some delegates will appreciate the metaphorical meaning of this as it relates to CRISPR. At the same time, this conference might simply a way to get all the players capable of doing CRISPR into one room

in order that group think can more effectively be engineered. The Chinese seem to be rapidly acculturating to a Western psychology. Their paper on CRISPR shows all the psychic fingerprints of Western thought

which has questioned whether genetic engineering should occur under any circumstances. 

 

Why not go virtual? Perhaps Longecity could be the great meeting place for such a momentous event in the history of humanity.  Conferences wind up being so exclusive, with delegates that have largely already 

bought into the program. CRISPR is about us! Why would an elite group of people think they have democratic legitimacy to pronounce judgment? I sure haven't bought into the brainwash.

 

By the way, the UK is a real leader on genetic engineering (Brave New World...). There is often such an advantage for a society to think through difficult issues on their own before the reactionaries start their psychological

distorting. 

 

   


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#27 mag1

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Posted 21 May 2015 - 10:46 PM

Well what do you say everyone? Let's boycott the International CRISPR summit and hold our own online virtual summit on the same days on Longecity.

Instead of allowing unelected people to dictate the agenda, We The People can make our own agenda. When we allow other people to make pronouncements on our behalf,

we relinquish our democratic right to decide for ourselves. 

 

Ordinary forms of protest wind up being largely without any nuance, merely a mob of screaming protesters. With an online protest / conference, we can stick to communicating

in complete sentences (and we wouldn't have to argue about the shape of the conference table, worry about jet lag, or blowing the budget on travel/accommodation expenses.) 

 

When government is allowed to quietly shape the future with unconstitutional intrusions on the freedoms of the people, we all lose. This is clearly illustrated with

the recent national campaign to take back the appropriation by the government of what treatment choices terminally ill people have available to them (Right To Try Laws).

It is disgraceful that the land of the free ever allowed such intrusions into such a basic human right. However, it will not be too many more months before every state and

national legislature has corrected this oversight. 

 

All our welcome to our conference. To add an international flavor, please feel free to post in any recognized language you feel comfortable in. We can always use online translators or you could provide

a rough translation if you choose. Those with a unique perspective are especially welcome. For example, those in low resource nations with special needs as a result of certain genetic illnesses could

offer a powerfully compelling argument in support of CRISPR technology.

 

See you in the fall, 2015!



#28 mag1

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Posted 21 May 2015 - 11:37 PM

Awesome idea about genetically engineering pets / animals!

 

Considering the current treatment of primates by research labs, it would be logically inconsistent and unreasonable to suggest that a full out CRISPR trial could not be conducted on them.

When this were done at the limits of the current CRISPR technology, such primates would far exceed the intellectual / psychological / social ability of any human.

 

Say hello to our new eugenic Pan troglodytes overlords!

 

If you are so opposed to helping humans with genetic illnesses, that is perfectly fine. Just be ready to accept the consequences.

Evolution favors those organisms that are more adaptively suited to survival. If you feel that it is somehow immoral to be more adaptive... Great, get out of the way, and let directed evolution

create a life form that is more adaptive. In 100 years, humans could be just another evolutionary footnote.

 

Get ready for Planets of the Apes!

 

 

Regarding the human right to euthanasia, we have had a front row seat on the hypocrisy on this one. Our government, along with probably every other socialized democracy in the world

is under intense financial strain relating to the emerging health obligations that have been made. A few years ago our loved one with dementia developed serious dehydration related

to swallowing problems. {This has been almost the only emergency that we have faced caring for her over last few decades.} Our medical system did everything possible not to provide us

with proper medical care.

 

Once our loved finally arrived at hospital in critical condition, it took a month or two to stabilize her condition. During that time we had endless rounds of palliative consults regarding whether

we wanted to continue feeding her. Several serious medical complications occurred during her stay. We were told that a G-Tube could only be provided if both power of attorneys signed off.

Legal authority even had to be provided for an NG tube. Apparently these legal changes have only been recently instituted. Up to this point feeding people with dementia had always been

considered the only possible legally acceptable response. Not doing so would have been considered to be criminal negligence.

 

Since her arrival back home several years ago there have been no medical emergencies to speak of, even while none of our family has any medical training regarding dementia care. Without exception

every single person involved with her care has told us without equivocation that the care being received in a home context far exceeds anything that could be offered from a professional nursing home.

At the same time, over this time we have seen ongoing reductions in the services provided through home care. On an almost weekly basis we see reductions in the standard of care that can be provided.

 

Our government is truly desperate for money. We could never have believe how desperate. We have recently been coping with a decubitus ulcer. It is truly shocking to see how reluctant they have been

to provide the care that is needed to treat this.

 

It is horrifying to even contemplate what the standard of care might be in 5-10 years when the dementia crisis has escalated further. The one life saver for government is that all of these changes can

occur without most people having any idea of what is happening.

 

Many patients float through the system and it is not apparent to them or their family members what is happening behind the scenes. Since our loved one is in a home environment, we can see exactly what is happening. Our health care team do not even pretend anymore that this is not happening. When the bed pads provided for our loved one dramatically declined in quality, no one could possibly deny it had happened. We just all laughed in total disbelief.

 

We had not fully appreciated that dementing illness does not greatly diminish life expectancy. A massive cerebral capacity is not required to exist. There are many animals (birds?) that appear to have quite modest cranial endowments. Many neuro-degenerative illnesses when treated to the limit of proper caregiving can result in prolonged disease presence. For example the average life expectancy of someone with dementia approaches 90 years. Even this might not be the maximum possible. We will have to see to what extent governments respect the rights of people with dementia in the future. From current evolving standard of care, it would seem clear that we are entering

a new dark age of human rights based on the severe resource constraints surrounding dementia and other medical conditions. As previously noted, Europe is now at the forefront of this trend.  

   

 

 

So that is our perspective on the fundamental human right to end one's own life: It is more a fundamental imperative of socialist societies to redefine the resources that they are willing to provide to the most vulnerable people within their populations. This would be why the right to die movement has had such an urgency to be implemented in socialized democracies. A previous poster confirmed this interpretation.  



#29 mag1

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Posted 21 November 2015 - 06:22 AM

Could this move us into the age of CRISPR?

http://www.scienceda...51118155446.htm



Click HERE to rent this GENETICS advertising spot to support LongeCity (this will replace the google ad above).

#30 Antonio2014

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Posted 21 November 2015 - 10:48 AM

It seems a promising step forward.







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