Last year, the results of the development of biotechnologies attracted attention
The concept of a gene drive scares many for obvious reasons. Gene Drive is a type of genetic engineering technology that distributes a certain DNA set throughout the population. We will not go down to alleles. The main thing is to realize that this is a serious step forward, which will cause no less serious consequences in the development of gene editing tools in human embryos.
The potential benefit of technology is enormous — a whole family can get rid of diseases transmitted by gene path (schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.) The risk lies in the fact that the «editing» of sperm and egg cells can lead to consequences — the emergence of new diseases. In this case, the development of biotechnology can deliver serious problems with integer species. The possibilities of a gene drive are so great that they split the dogma «Half DNA comes from the dad, the other is from mom.»
A mosquito or rodent may become a possible object of full-scale testing. After issuing only a few mutant mosquitoes with gensentimensions to infertility, scientists could potentially destroy entire populations carrying infectious disasters (malaria, dengue fever or Zika). The technology is so powerful and dangerous that the United States Agency for Defense Development allocates $ 65 million to the study of control methods, counteracting or even appeal to reversal of possible negative achievements of biotechnology.
Last year, UN cautiously approved the use of a gene drive in limited use. Currently, the first release of a genetically modified mosquito is preparing for testing in Burkina Faso in Africa. The experiment will release 10,000 mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles, which are the main perpetrators of the spread of malaria. The Target Malaria non-profit consortium, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is developing the MOSQ gene drive, which will distribute infertility among insects with malaria. Attempting Target Malaria to save millions of people is scheduled for 2024.
First, we will determine with the concepts and will conduct the shortest overview of the work of Crispr — the so-called «imune system» of bacteria, which consists of repeating DNA sections. The spacer is the prototype of the virus with which the cell came throughout life. The Cas9 protein compares the spacer with a DNA of the virus and cuts the harmful item. The idea of biotechnologists is that the CAS9 protein is programmed to edit the unwanted sequence of amino acids in DNA. Thus, CAS9 is endowed with an additional function to change the gene.
In September 2018, the biotechnological company Sangamo Therapeutics from Richmond, California, conducted its own test. As part of it, the patient was introduced enzymes for editing genes, trying to correct the genetic defect in the splitting of complex sugars.
Sangamo experience implies the introduction of edited genes into the body directly through the injection. Now the procedure looks safe, although at the time of the preparation of a report on it was still too early to determine the effectiveness. This year, the company hopes to finally answer whether such methods of biotechnology are really working. Success will mean that destructive genetic disorders can potentially be treated with just a few injections. With a number of new and more accurate CRISPR and other gene editing tools, the list of curable hereditary diseases will grow.
Loud scandal with CRISPR children happened at the end of last year. A scientist from China He Jiankuy announced the birth of the first children with the changed CCR5 genome. CRISPR technology was applied to Nana and Lulu girls. Children are healthy and now must have immunity to HIV. The application caused a wide resonance and deep concern from the public.
The investigation into the gene modifications of CRISPR-children was completed on January 22, after which Jiankuy was fired from Shenzhen University. Also, the Chinese scientist may be charged due to fake results of the verification of the ethical commission.
Neuralink is a startup of Ilona Mask, which is engaged in the implantation of tiny particles into the brain. The function of these particles is due to the biodiversity for a person with a computer and the Internet. Ilon Mask estimates the prospects for the development of biotechnology very high. The striving of the mask to achieve symbiosis with artificial intelligence is not a driving force for all neurocomputer interfaces. The main stimulus is the rehabilitation of patients suffering from paralysis, memory loss or other nerve damage.
In 2019, neurocomputer and neuromodulators interfaces will finally be able to work autonomously in the damaged brain, using electrostimulation only when necessary. Necrocomputers will allow scientists to control the brain without using optical fibers. Relief from the cable will only be the first step towards the fine tuning of neurological treatment.
After a certain stagnation, pharmaceutical companies adjusted their approach to development, and the industry as a whole is increasingly happy with success. We highlight some events that confirm interest in
In addition to XBI, there are 6 more biotechnological ETFs that may be interested in an investor:
The last security is interesting in what is related to the CRISPR study.
Also recommends familiarizing yourself with the most interesting technical innovations presented at the exhibition.