“Nuclear weapons need large facilities, but genetic engineering can be done in a small lab. You can’t regulate every lab in the world. The danger is that either by accident or design, we create a virus that destroys us.”— Stephen Hawking
“Genetic engineering has never been about saving the world, it’s about controlling the world.”— Vandana Shiva
“I am simply pointing out that at the rate at which we are going the whole genetic engineering technology will end up in the hands of the political system to be used for the complete control and subjugation of man.”— U.G. Krishnamurti
“Natural species are the library from which genetic engineers can work. Genetic engineers don’t make new genes, they rearrange existing ones.”— Thomas E. Lovejoy
“The advance of genetic engineering makes it quite conceivable that we will begin to design our own evolutionary progress.”— Isaac Asimov
“Put briefly, genetic engineering is a ‘cut, paste, and copy’ operation.”— Susan Aldridge
“It has been claimed that genetic engineering is like nuclear science, as both confer a power on humans for which they are psychologically and morally unprepared.”— D. R. J. Macer
“And so the race to genetically engineer everything and be first to the patent office is on.”— Kristin Dawkins
“Humans have long since possessed the tools for crafting a better world. Where love, compassion, altruism and justice have failed, genetic manipulation will not succeed.”— Gina Maranto
“Our perfect biological future can now be designed—but who gets to choose?”― J.S. Morrison
Just when it looked like the only things we have to worry about are hurricanes, floods, droughts, inflation, recessions, pandemics, and nuclear war, along comes a mysterious gene-editing technology called CRISPR. Of course you know all about CRISPR, technology which Bill Gates and the WEF are promoting and funding. No? Well then, read on.
Michael Nevradakis has an article in The Burning Platform that is more than a little disturbing, to me at least: “Scientists Sound Alarm as Gates, WEF Promote Gene-Editing Technology for Everything From Fake Meat to Designer Babies.”
“CRISPR, a recently developed gene-editing technology is promoted as a potential solution to numerous diseases, to food security and climate change — even as a way to deliver ‘designer babies’ and bring extinct mammals back to life.”
“The technology has attracted significant investments and the attention of actors such as Bill Gates and the World Economic Forum (WEF). But many scientists express concerns about the technology’s potential harmful effects.”
“What is CRISPR? CRISPR — which stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats — acts as a ‘precise pair of molecular scissors that can cut a target DNA sequence, directed by a customizable guide.’”
“Put differently, this technology allows scientists to edit sections of DNA by ‘snipping’ specific portions of it and replacing it with new segments. Gene editing is not a new concept, but CRISPR technology is viewed as being cheaper and more accurate.”
“CRISPR is a gene-editing tool ‘that cuts the DNA across the double strand’ and can be targeted ‘to a precise sequence in the genome.’ CRISPR can be used with three potential aims … disrupting the function of a gene, modifying the function of a gene or inserting entirely new genes.”
Science has discovered that we are all just a jumble of genes – a genome
You will be happy to know, or maybe not, that scientists have been very busy in recent decades decoding humans, also known as you and I. Sadly, they have discovered that we are just genomes – some jumble of genes, or “genetic information”. Probably much easier to deal with than mostly-inconvenient people or persons, which may be good. I’ll bet Bill and Klaus think so.
If you are not a biologist or gene engineer, you might wonder what exactly a “genome” is – beyond a gene-jumble of some sort. Wikipedia helps out nicely here:
“In the fields of molecular biology and genetics, a genome is all genetic information of an organism. It consists of nucleotide sequences of DNA (or RNA in RNA viruses). The nuclear genome includes protein-coding genes and non-coding genes, the other functional regions of the genome (see non-coding DNA), and any junk DNA if it is present. Algae and plants contain chloroplasts with a chloroplast genome and almost all eukaryotes have mitochondria and a mitochondrial genome.”
“The study of the genome is called genomics. The genomes of many organisms have been sequenced and various regions have been annotated. The International Human Genome Project reported the sequence of the genome for Homo sapiens in 2004, although the initial ‘finished’ sequence was missing 8% of the genome consisting mostly of repetitive sequences.”
“With advancements in technology that could handle sequencing of the many repetitive sequences found in human DNA that were not fully uncovered by the original Human Genome Project study, scientists reported the first end-to-end human genome sequence in March 2022.”
Got that? Well, me neither. I do worry a bit about being classified in with algae and plants gene-wise, not that I have anything particular against such apparently-related gene-carriers.
The good news is that we (aka “they”) can now mess with our genomes
Even before you and I were fully decoded gene-wise, the gene-biology folks were way ahead and pushing the envelope, including patent wars over who exactly owns us potentially-patentable genomes these days.
Are human genes, like other life form genes, actually patentable?
Well, yes and no – as MedlinePlus explains:
“A gene patent is the exclusive rights to a specific sequence of DNA (a gene) given by a government to the individual, organization, or corporation who claims to have first identified the gene.”
“On June 13, 2013, in the case of the Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that human genes cannot be patented in the U.S. because DNA is a ‘product of nature [emphasis added].’ The Court decided that because nothing new is created when discovering a gene, there is no intellectual property to protect, so patents cannot be granted. Prior to this ruling, more than 4,300 human genes were patented [emphasis added]. The Supreme Court’s decision invalidated those gene patents, making the genes accessible for research and for commercial genetic testing.”
“The Supreme Court’s ruling did allow that DNA manipulated in a lab is eligible to be patented because DNA sequences altered by humans are not found in nature. The Court specifically mentioned the ability to patent a type of DNA known as complementary DNA (cDNA). This synthetic DNA is produced from the molecule that serves as the instructions for making proteins (called messenger RNA).”
So, are we patentable genomes or not? Who knows? My guess is that we are in practice, along with a whole mess of viruses and similar genetic nasties. Not to mention all kinds of gene-related technology – like CRISPR. It’s just science doing what science does.
Greg Rienzi has an article in the Johns Hopkins Magazine (Winter 2017) that is not reassuring in this respect: “Revising The Genome”:
“Seydoux says it’s far from hyperbole to say CRISPR has revolutionized genetics. What used to take months or even years to create and observe can now happen in weeks or days thanks to CRISPR, Science magazine’s 2015 Breakthrough of the Year. Whose breakthrough? That’s a hotly debated topic. There’s currently a patent war raging between MIT neuroscientist Feng Zhang and the pair of Jennifer Doudna, a University of California, Berkeley, biologist, and Emmanuelle Charpentier, a French microbiologist now with the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin. MIT filed for a patent in 2014, but Doudna and Charpentier proved that CRISPR tech was viable back in 2012. A Nobel Prize awaits someone. CRISPR is faster, cheaper, and more accurate than previous techniques for editing DNA and has potential applications well beyond just messing around with nematodes. Scientists like Seydoux can edit genes in any animal. Including humans.”
Ummm … maybe sticking to “… messing around with nematodes”, whatever these critters may be in reality, would be a pretty good idea. For a while at least.
Is genetic engineering safe for humans, you might ask
Well, glad you might ask, because this was my very first question here. Turns out there is a great deal of very scientific *hummada-hummada* (see definition below) stuff out there, none particularly reassuring.
For example, Charles Hagedorn, Professor and Biotechnology Specialist from the Virginia Cooperative Extension (Virginia Tech – Virginia State University) offers this excellent hummada specimen from way back in 2000:
“This is not an easy question. Being able to answer it depends on understanding complex biological and ecological systems. So far, scientists know of no generic harms associated with genetically engineered organisms. For example, it is not true that all genetically engineered foods are toxic or that all released engineered organisms are likely to proliferate in the environment. But specific engineered organisms may be harmful by virtue of the novel gene combinations they possess. This means that the risks of genetically engineered organisms must be assessed case by case and that these risks can differ greatly from one gene-organism combination to another.”
“So far, scientists have identified a number of ways in which genetically engineered organisms could potentially adversely impact both human health and the environment. Once the potential harms are identified, the question becomes how likely are they to occur. The answer to this question falls into the arena of risk assessment. In addition to posing risks of harm that we can envision and attempt to assess, genetic engineering may also pose risks that we simply do not know enough to identify. The recognition of this possibility does not by itself justify stopping the technology, but does put a substantial burden on those who wish to go forward to demonstrate benefits.”
“’Well, what might go wrong?’ The answer to that question depends on how well scientists understand the organism and the environment into which it is released. At this point, biology and ecology are too poorly understood to be certain that question has been answered comprehensively [emphasis added].”
*FYI* on “hummada”, which was a favorite nonsense-response of a professor, I think, to less-than-carefully-thought-through statements by students. Its meaning, much to my surprise, actually exists:
“Hummada: A very spiritual person who often relies on intuition for decision making. Your mind is rich and deep, but often closed for other people. You sometimes need seclusion in order to gain clarity about what is going on in your life. This however does not make you a person that is hard to get along with.”
Probably appropriate, even in the present genetic engineering context.
Just because we can doesn’t mean we should
Mankind, it seems, has a pretty sorry record of messing with things that are best left alone, at least until sufficient understanding is developed. The DDT and thalidomide disasters come to mind here, along with more immediate concerns about nuclear bomb stuff misuses.
My take here, however, is that if it can be messed with, it will be messed with, with or without sufficient understanding. This means that major misuses – often resulting in catastrophes of various magnitudes and flavors – are approximately 100.00% certain to occur.
This seems to mean also that genetic engineering via CRISPR in all its complexity will occur and is occurring, with generally insufficient real understanding. Understanding, in much of the scientific realm, seems to be scheduled, if at all, for some time toward the end of the experimental fun parts.
So, a proper question at this point in the scientific fun is how might we human genomes – you and I – protect ourselves during all such scientific fun?
Genetic engineering is messing big time with food, which means that us genomes who enjoy eating are now eating GMO’s upon occasion, and are seriously at risk – for something, or maybe even whatever. Just wait for science to figure out exactly what these new food ingredients are, and what they do to us human genomes.
GMO of course is a “genetically modified organism”, like animals and plants that mysteriously and too often invisibly find themselves in our food. Is GMO bad for us? Who knows? Much opinion and “science” on all sides of this minor issue.
We are going to be CRISPR’d but safe, so the big guys say
Who are these big guys, you might ask? Well, big Pharma, big Food, big Agriculture, and even big Government in many of its popular flavors. Good enough for me if they say so. Or maybe not.
This all assumes of course that big Military, big NATO, and big WEF don’t manage to do a big nuclear Armageddon experiment on us human genomes shortly. They will no doubt check on survivability at some point – post-experiment, as usual. I think it’s called “risk assessment”. Most of those residing outside of nuke vaporization zones will certainly be made quite CRISPR, which may well be a serious risk worth assessing.
But at least they are testing the nuclear war front-end. From ZeroHedge:
“The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has begun its annual military drills in preparation for nuclear war on Monday. American B-52 bombers will be joined by advanced aircraft from other alliance members as they simulate a war of annihilation with Russia.”
“The war games, dubbed ‘Steadfast Noon,’ are scheduled to run through the end of October . Belgium is hosting the exercises which will take place over the North Sea and the United Kingdom. Some American aircraft will take off from bases in North Dakota.”
“According to a NATO press release, ‘Exercise Steadfast Noon involves 14 countries and up to 60 aircraft of various types, including fourth and fifth-generation fighter jets, as well as surveillance and tanker aircraft. As in previous years, US B-52 long-range bombers will take part.’ It added, ‘as long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance. This year’s nuclear drills come as tensions between NATO and Moscow are at a multi-decade high.’”
You know of course that ionizing radiation, such as that produced by nukes, does its own thing in terms of genetic engineering, as a U.S. NRC manual helpfully explains:
“The other possible result of [ionizing] radiation exposure is that the cell is affected in such a way that it does not die but is simply mutated. The mutated cell reproduces and thus perpetuates the mutation. This could be the beginning of a malignant tumor.”
The story today is potentially as bad as it can get for us human genomes
It is not at all comforting to know that we may well gain firsthand an understanding the consequences of a global nuclear war (experiment) well ahead of gaining an understanding of the likely consequences of being genetically-engineered until CRISPR’d.
The truly scary part in all of this is that technology of many kinds seems to be far-outrunning both understanding of its safe uses and credible knowledge of its consequences. It is not good to have to be among the “survivors” to gain access to such initially-trivial information.
Ignoring the current global nuclear war threat for the moment, you may or may not be greatly relieved to know that Boston University is discovering amazing new things to do with gene-editing technology: “Boston University Creates COVID Strain With 80% Mortality In Mice”:
“Researchers at Boston University have created a new strain of Covid-19 that has an 80% kill rate in humanized mice. In an effort to research what makes Omicron so transmissible, the researchers cobbled the Omicron spike protein to the original strain of Covid-19. The resulting virus was five times more infectious than Omicron.”
“’The Omicron spike (S) protein, with an unusually large number of mutations, is considered the major driver of these phenotypes. We generated chimeric recombinant SARS-CoV-2 encoding the S gene of Omicron in the backbone of an ancestral SARS-CoV-2 isolate and compared this virus with the naturally circulating Omicron variant,’ reads the pre-print.”
“’In…mice, while Omicron causes mild, non-fatal infection, the Omicron S-carrying virus inflicts severe disease with a mortality rate of 80 percent,’” the researchers wrote, adding that while the spike protein is responsible for infectivity, changes to other parts of its structure are responsible for its deadliness.”
These mice of course are “humanized mice”, which somehow makes it okay.
Not everyone, thankfully, is overjoyed by this new science
Natural News, which has many rather-understated and carefully-qualified views on all kinds of matters these days, takes a slightly different tack on BU’s mice-death breakthrough: “SUICIDE SCIENCE: Boston University creates new chimeric COVID bioweapon with 80% KILL RATE… has humanity learned NOTHING?”:
“Today we call for the arrest and criminal prosecution of the scientists at Boston University who have apparently violated US law and engaged in dangerous gain-of-function research to create a chimeric covid ‘superstrain’ that achieves an 80% kill rate in mice. This bombshell news was broken by the UK Daily Mail in an exclusive story that documents how Boston University scientists combined a spike protein from the Omicron strain with the ‘original Wuhan Covid strain’ to create a new super strain that kills 80% of mice upon exposure.”
“’The revelation exposes how dangerous virus manipulation research continues to go on even in the US, despite fears similar practices may have started the pandemic,’ writes the UK Daily Mail, which also quotes two experts warning of the potentially devastating consequences if this strain is ‘accidentally’ (on purpose) released onto the world:”
“Professor Shmuel Shapira, a leading scientist in the Israeli Government, said: ‘This should be totally forbidden, it’s playing with fire.’”
“Dr Richard Ebright, a chemist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, told DailyMail.com that: ‘The research is a clear example of gain of function research.’”
“He added: ‘If we are to avoid a next lab-generated pandemic, it is imperative that oversight of enhanced potential pandemic pathogen research be strengthened.’”
“The effects of the new chimeric super strain include ‘severe disease’ in exposed mice, followed by a ‘mortality rate of 80 percent,’ reports the UK Daily Mail.”
Probably reflects just the extreme views of some mice-lovers out there somewhere. See also this softly-worded opinion.
No matter. Gene engineering is here to stay
The genie (gene-ie?) is out of the bottle, or toothpaste out of the tube. Neither can be persuaded to return to captivity (aka our safety). Scientists will be scientists. That’s just who they are. They go where the grants flow, I guess.
So, what can we do about this rather dismal outlook, if anything? Are we destined to be CRISPR’d until we are well-done?
On the positive side, our betters seem to be working overtime to get a nuclear world war started. Doing a pretty good job, I’d say. If they are successful, we (i.e., us few survivors) won’t have to worry (much) about gene-editing mischief – at least for a while.
Are we today reduced to rooting for the least-worse outcome in all of this?
On a more optimistic note, earlier posts have looked at nuclear war survival, population growth upside, and societal collapse – all happenings of relevance to us today. Our survival, despite the best efforts of globalists, governments, scientists, and a whole bunch of hangers-on, seems assured. Unfortunately, what is not assured is that any particular one of us human genomes (aka you and I) will be among the survivors.
Thanks to those ultra-smart folks at Boston University and elsewhere, the likelihood of a devastating pandemic in the near future now seems assured. Like those poor humanized test mice, we should anticipate a really-bad death-rate of at least 80% from this survival-challenging happening. Otherwise, we may be able to survive without doing much of anything.
Just when it looked like the only things we have to worry about are hurricanes, floods, droughts, inflation, recessions, pandemics, and nuclear war, along comes a mysterious gene-editing technology called CRISPR. Like so much today, this technology – which is being applied to human genetics – seems to be driven by money and politics rather than solid knowledge and understanding. Neither money nor politics have any significant track record of providing wise and cautionary guidance into unknown and potentially dangerous realms.
- Sharon Begley writing in StatNews.com  raised a warning flag on CRISPR technology (also, see her second article below this one): “Do CRISPR enthusiasts have their head in the sand about the safety of gene editing?”:
“At scientific meetings on genome-editing, you’d expect researchers to show pretty slides of the ribbony 3-D structure of the CRISPR-Cas9 molecules neatly snipping out disease-causing genes in order to, everyone hopes, cure illnesses from cancer to muscular dystrophy. Less expected: slides of someone kneeling on a beach with his head in the sand.”
“Yet that is what Dr. J. Keith Joung of Massachusetts General Hospital showed at the American Society of Hematology’s workshop on genome-editing last week in Washington. While the 150 experts from industry, academia, the National Institutes of Health, and the Food and Drug Administration were upbeat about the possibility of using genome-editing to treat and even cure sickle cell disease, leukemia, HIV/AIDS, and other blood disorders, there was a skunk at the picnic: an emerging concern that some enthusiastic CRISPR-ers are ignoring growing evidence that CRISPR might inadvertently alter regions of the genome other than the intended ones.”
“’In the early days of this field, algorithms were generated to predict off-target effects and [made] available on the web,’ Joung said. Further research has shown, however, that such algorithms, including one from MIT and one called E-CRISP, ‘miss a fair number’ of off-target effects. ‘These tools are used in a lot of papers, but they really aren’t very good at predicting where there will be off-target effects,’ he said. ‘We think we can get off-target effects to less than 1 percent, but we need to do better,’ especially if genome-editing is to be safely used to treat patients.”
“Off-target effects occur because of how CRISPR works. It has two parts. RNA makes a beeline for the site in a genome specified by the RNA’s string of nucleotides, and an enzyme cuts the genome there. Trouble is, more than one site in a genome can have the same string of nucleotides. Scientists might address CRISPR to the genome version of 123 Main Street, aiming for 123 Main on chromosome 9, only to find CRISPR has instead gone to 123 Main on chromosome 14.”
- Sharon Begley writing in StatNews.com  listed some early cautions on the use of gene-editing technology: “They’re going to CRISPR people. What could possibly go wrong?”:
“1. CRISPR edits DNA it isn’t supposed to. Soon after scientists reported in 2012 that CRISPR can edit DNA, experts raised concerns about “off-target effects,” meaning genes that scientists didn’t intend to change inadvertently got deleted or altered. That can happen because one molecule in the CRISPR system acts as a molecular bloodhound, sniffing around the genome until it finds a match to its own sequence of A’s, T’s, C’s, and G’s; unfortunately, in the 6 billion such letters of the human genome, there can be more than one match. The proposed CRISPR experiment, which would be led by scientists at the University of Pennsylvania, would use three of these molecular bloodhounds, tripling the risk of off-target effects.”
“2. CRISPR hits its targets, but then genetic hell breaks loose. When CRISPR’s DNA-cutting enzyme snips the genome, the severed DNA strands don’t just smoothly reconnect like an electronic document that closes up the space between “just” and “reconnect” if “smoothly” is deleted from this sentence. No. Random DNA floating around rushes into the gap.”
“3. The Energizer Bunny problem. The components of CRISPR usually don’t just slip into T cells on their own. That requires a virus, since viruses are adept at infiltrating cells. A spokesman for Penn said the scientists were not available to answer questions about their proposed procedure, but if they do use viruses, they run the risk that virus-infected cells will keep cranking out the DNA-snipping Cas9 — by one estimate, for 10 or 20 years. That leaves lots of time for unintended genome-editing to occur.”
- Michael Nevradakis has a very recent article in The Burning Platform directed primarily toward CRISPR use in food production: “Exclusive: CRISPR Technology Is a ‘Recipe for Disaster’ — Not a Solution for World Hunger”:
“Bill Gates, the World Economic Forum (WEF), Silicon Valley investors and others routinely tout gene editing — specifically, CRISPR technology — as the solution to global food security.”
“But some scientists — including two who spoke with The Defender — are critical of the technology which, they said, carries known and unknown risks. And besides, they said, there are better and safer ways to produce enough food for everyone.”
“Claire Robinson, managing editor of GMWatch, criticized pro-GE (genetic engineering) scientists, government authorities and a ‘compliant media’ that ‘mislead people about the level of complexity and risk involved in gene editing, never mind attempts to pretend it is not even a form of genetic modification.’”