The former NASA scientist has said: ‘I want to help humans genetically modify themselves’. He became the first person to EDIT his own DNA.
A former NASA researcher says he wants to “help humans genetically modify themselves” to create a new class of superhumans.
In fact, the former NASA biochemist has already edited his own DNA, using the CRISPR technique and even transmitted the process in his blog, to show the world what “garage science” can do great things.
In this DIY project, Dr. Zayner tried giving himself ‘super strength’ by removing a protein that inhibits muscle grow in his left arm.
The process involved only one piece of DNA that contains a protein (Cas9) and a guide RNA (gRNA), which basically tells the protein where to go. When the modified DNA was injected into his forearm, the protein and the gRNA went to the myostatin gene and then removed it.
Speaking about his process and DIY gene editing kit, Dr. Zayner said how „we are slaves to the genomes we have.”
However, as noted by Dr. Zayner in his blog, the goal of the experiment was not to achieve superhuman strength.
“The point is that we are on the cusp of humanity that is changing. This is the first of many people who will change their genomes. It will happen for medical reasons, for science, for athletics or maybe just because people wanted or were bored.”
The former NASA scientist is convinced how humanity will eventually develop into a new breed of super-strong human thanks to widespread DIY genetic engineering.
In an interview with the Guardian, Dr. Zayner said: “I imagine people going to someplace like a tattoo parlor, and instead of getting a tattoo they pick out some DNA that makes them muscly or changes the color of their hair or eyes. DNA defines what a species is, and I imagine it wouldn’t be too long into the future when the human species almost becomes a new species because of these modifications.”
Dr. Zayner, who is the founder and CEO of Genetic Engineering Company the Odin even sells basic genetic engineering kits via the internet, even though the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made it clear that “
the sale of gene therapy products without regulatory approval is illegal.”
In 2017, Dr. Zayner made a profit of $200,000 by selling DIY gene editing kits, including a kit containing years that can be utilized in order to create glowing bioluminescent beer, and another kit that allows anyone to find antibiotics at home.
Dr. Zayner believes that gene editing is something that will become ordinary in the near future. The California based biochemist has even written a guide for people who want to that take his introductory kits further and experiment on themselves.
“We have always been slaves to the genomes we have and giving people the ability to change that almost changes what it means to be human. It seems so sci-fi and made up, but we’ve been genetically modifying humans with gene therapy since the 1990s – it’s just been very few people and for medical reasons. I want to help humans genetically modify themselves,” said Dr. Zayner to the Guardian.
Dr. Zayner noted in his blog: “As I write this, the FDA is in the process of approving the first human gene therapy treatment. Still, it’s too slow for me, clinical trials have been going on since before 2008. I want to accelerate that. I want people to have a choice about their genetics.”
Dr. Zayner worked at NASA by engineering bacteria to help grow life on Mars.
Featured image credit: Indiegogo