Creating New Organisms with 3-D Printed DNA
During the early 1980’s I lived and worked in Bethesda, Maryland, and I would make deliveries to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on a daily basis.
I remember a local news story in the Washington Post during those days saying the NIH was creating an incurable virus using various combinations of adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine (=DNA) via a computer and a machine which would inject each of these according to the necessary genetic code for the virus, thus, in time, creating the virus itself.
This wasn’t called “3-D printing” back then, but that’s essentially what it was.
As I said in my book The World Perceived (see: pp. 90-91) it doesn’t take much imagination to realize that since we can create an entire computer virtual world using a simple binary code of 1 and 0 God can certainly create life using a simple code of A, C, G, T (= adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine).
Scientists today are using this same simple code to create far more than the one incurable virus they created at the NIH 30+ years ago.
The question is: “Do we have the wisdom needed to do this?”
The answer is: “I don’t think we do.”
See: An earlier article I wrote about this subject: “O brave new world, that has such people in it!” – http://wp.me/pPnn7-2ha
Article – Leon R. Kass, M.D. – The Wisdom of Repugnance: Why We Should Ban the Cloning of Humans – http://scholar.valpo.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1423&context=vulr
E-Book – The Genomics Age – http://tinyurl.com/budem9s
Book – Forbidden Knowledge: From Prometheus to Pornography – http://www.amazon.com/Forbidden-Knowledge-From-Prometheus-Pornography/dp/0156005514
VIDEO – Hacking Life’s Code and Creating New Organisms with 3-D Printed DNA: http://youtu.be/PGyNyQ5IDUM
Q&A With Cambrian Genomics’ Austen Heinz
“To think that we can’t make organisms that aren’t more efficient than existing, I don’t think is correct,” says Austen Heinz, founder of the biotech startup Cambrian Genomics. “Because nature doesn’t have DNA laser printers, and we do.”
“Reason TV’s Zach Weissmueller sat down with Heinz to discuss the ramifications of a technology that dramatically brings down the cost of sequencing and assembling DNA, suddenly making the ability for consumers to create their own organisms an economic reality. Heinz partnered with a company to crowdfund a “glowing plant,” which led to a subsequent ban on GMO-related projects on Kickstarter, and he expresses concern with the lagging regulatory structure governing biotech development. But Heinz is undeterred by regulatory and cultural obstacles and foresees a future where consumers can affordably leverage his technology to fix errors in their own DNA or even design their own creatures in the same way that 3-D printing companies like MakerBot allow for custom models.
“[With] MakerBot, you would print out, say, a plastic dinosaur. With Cambrian, the idea is that eventually you’ll be able to print out your own little dinosaur that actually walks across the table,” says Heinz. “Everything around us is just code. Wouldn’t it be great if we could just snap our fingers and just re-imagine the world around us, where everything is programmable, everthing is re-writeable?”
“Approximately 10 minutes. Produced by Zach Weissmueller. Camera by Justin Monticello. Music by Chris Zabriskie.
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