How close are we to becoming Superheroes: What is genome editing? - The Comprehensive Minds

How close are we to becoming Superheroes: What is genome editing?

 

How close are we to becoming Superheroes


Spiderman is one of our favorite superheroes. In the movie of Toby Maguire, Peter Parker is in a Lab and suddenly a genetically modified spider bites him and VOILA! The next day he becomes Spiderman. Experimenting in a Lab and giving the strength of an animal to a human is very common in Marvel and DC movies. 


But, can this happen for real? Can you or I become Spiderman or Antman? Has science already started working on it? And if yes, then where have we reached on this journey? Read this article till the end to know some amazing facts about this futuristic technology Genome Editing that will blow your mind. 


Genome Editing can get you, Designer Babies! 

In 2018, Chinese scientist He Juianjui shocked everyone when he announced the birth of the first-ever Gene-edited babies. Twin girls Nana and Lulu's genes were edited in a way that they will stay resistant to the HIV virus all their lives. 



What is Genome Editing & How does Genome Editing work?

Do you remember memorizing this in school? DNA and RNA are found in the millions of cells present in our body. From your saliva to your hair and even nails, your DNA sample can be taken. Through which we can actually change any organism's characteristics. 


DNA is present in the form of sequences. And when the DNA sequence is cut and a new sequence is formed then that is called Genome Editing. In simple words, every living organism has a superpower to heal itself. If your nails break, you cut them, right? And they grow back in the shape you cut them in. 

This same thing happens with DNA. And depending on the changes you make in your DNA, you can modify your body to do things that maybe any other normal human being won't be able to do naturally. 



Also Read: What are Mutations and what are the different types of Mutations?


Examples of Genome editing


This is similar to the Genome Editing experiment shown in the movie Jurassic Park. Do you remember how in the Jurrasic Park movie, scientists got dinosaur's blood from a frozen mosquito? Through which they recreate extinct dinosaurs. 

In the movie Jurrasic World, genetic engineering is shown more deeply. Where scientists combine species of multiple organisms and make a brand new species Indominus Rex, whose power they can't seem to fathom and that dinosaur destroys the whole Jurrasic Park. 


Advancements due to genome editing?


But, what are we doing today with the help of Genome Editing? Let's see this in detail. By editing a baby's genes, their genetic disorders can be cured. With the available Gene Editing technology, for now, we can just save the babies from genetic diseases. But, just as technology will progress and methods will be more refined, scientists will also be able to modify our physical features and intelligence. 


The color of our eyes is pre-determined by our DNA. By Gene Editing, we can also modify our eye color. Testosterone which is the most vital hormone also depends on genetics. That can be increased by Gene editing, too which will lead to more muscular and strong human beings. 


Genome Editing can be used to edit an organism's DNA. But experimenting with this in human embryos is illegal. Most scientists use this to study the DNA function and biology of cells and organisms. In China, research of two such therapies is going on that can cure cancer through Gene Editing. And their clinical trials have also been approved. 


So maybe in the next few years, we will get a cure for cancer. Let's hope for the best! Through Genome Editing, human cells can be modified and can be used to cure diseases like leukemia and AIDS. Mr. Patrick Doherty who had Amyloidosis a very deadly genetic disease that digests our nerves, tissues, and organ walls were cured through Gene Editing! And that too at the age of 65 years. This technology can be very promising to cure such deadly diseases. 


Genome Editing is being used in the agricultural field for many years so that high-yielding crops can be produced that can survive in drastic weather conditions. According to a study conducted in India, using HVY seeds for around 25 years the growth of wheat was accelerated and became almost double. It is also used to genetically modify animals. 


According to research conducted in China, the genes of police dogs are edited in such a way that that they have more muscle mass than other natural dogs. But it hasn't happened even once that by one bite of a genetically modified species, there have been mutations in a human. This only happens in movies.

 


Also Read: Is a natural Covid infection really 13 times better than being vaccinated?

Can we become a Superhero?


With these, let's get back to the questions with which we started the article. Well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news but, with the available technology, this is not possible at the moment. For this, we need to conduct lots of research and experiments. 

If we just talk about becoming Spiderman, then a new study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that in the future by using Genome Editing, we bring the powers of Spiderman into the human body then the human body won't look like the human body right now, For example, for climbing a wall 40% of our full-body or 80% of our frontal body should be very sticky. 


So for this, our body should be very small or our hands and legs should be very long, So in this case, you will have the powers of Spiderman but you won't look as cool as Toby Maguire or Tom Holland.

 

Well whatever it is, surely, there are endless possibilities in this world of Genome Editing. After all, the technology that can make Designer Babies today, I'm convinced that going forward it can do much more than that!

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