Anniversary Sale Anniversary Sale

ADVERTISEMENT

Psst, the Human Genome Was Never Completely Sequenced. Some Scientists Say It Should Be

It’s been 14 years since scientists announced they’d finally sequenced the entire human genome. But that wasn’t completely true, STAT reports. The truth was — and still is — there are missing sequences that, at the time, were considered too insignificant to matter. But now scientists are finding out those missing links do matter — for example, when it comes to understanding aging and certain chromosomal diseases and cancer — and they’re calling for the sequencing to be completed.

It’s understandable that scientists want to find out what makes our bodies tick, with the idea of learning how to stop or prevent diseases from the DNA level, particularly since gene-editing technology is taking the medical world by storm with CRISPR, or Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat. Whereas gene editing was once a very imprecise and expensive process, with CRISPR, scientists can now go into your DNA and essentially cut and paste it at specified places.

Showing a potential for treating diseases ranging from cancer to type 2 diabetes, CRISPR would be at its apex, I’m sure, if the human genome were completely sequenced. So, what could go wrong, particularly since drug companies are in a race to develop gene editing drugs?

For one, as precise as the technology is, it’s not perfect and it may accidently hit other parts of the genome. In fact, a new study has highlighted the uncertainties, showing that unintended mutations may result when you dice and splice the human genome.

You may be surprised to learn that CRISPR and other gene-editing tools are also being used in the food industry — and they are not subject to regulation by the USDA or other regulatory agencies. To date, the technology has been used to produce soybeans with altered fatty acid profiles, potatoes that take longer to turn brown and potatoes that remain fresher longer and do not produce carcinogens when fried.

The vaccine industry is also already working with human-pig hybrids, with the long-term goal of growing human organs in pigs. Yet, serious ethical considerations have been raised, such as whether the human-pig creatures could develop human consciousness, self-awareness or physical resemblance to humans. Such ignorance could do a great deal of harm when tinkering with the human genome.
Click Here and be the first to comment on this article
Post your comment