Genetic modification and human life 


Saheera tazein


Department of plant breeding and genetics

B.Sc. (hons)


Genetic modification and human life 

Imagine you are alive back in 1980s where computers took everything in control from shopping to dancing and the stock market. There is the billions of people would be connecting to each other’s for a kind of a Web. That you have owned hand held device

Science fiction became a reality that we don’t even can think about it. There is the similar point is genetic engineering, where it came from and about recent breakthrough that would change how we would live and will be perceive as no one forever.

Genetic modification

Humans have been engineering genes for thousands of the years thorough selective breeding and reinsert them to desirable plants and animals. We don’t know about that all until we discover the code of life the DNA. A complex molecule that guides and help in growth, development, function and reproduction of everything alive. Information is encoded in the structure of the molecules. Four nucleotides are packed and make accordingly instructions. Change in these instructions and you can change the being carrying it. As soon as the DNA was discovered we were trying to take over this.

In 1960s

Scientists bombarded plants with radiations to cause random mutation in the genetic code it was based on chance but sometimes it actually works.

In 1970s

Scientists inserted DNA stimulating to bacteria in plants and animals to study and modify them, for research agriculture and so on.

The earliest genetically modified individual was born in 1974. Making mice as our research tool could save a million of lives.

In 1980s

In the ancient we got commercial, unique microorganisms have been developed by the application of genetic engineering techniques

Today we have make many chemicals based on genetic engineering like lifesaving clotting factors and growth hormone etc. all things we have to harvest from the organs of the animals before that.

First food modified in the lab was in 1994 THE FLAVER SAVER TOMATO, a tomato is given a much longer shelf life by inserting suppresser genes of rotting factor or enzyme. But GM individuals have controversy around as well.

In 1990s

There was also a brief intimation of human genetic engineering, through a method babies were produced carrying the genome of three parents making them the first humans ever to have three genetic parents and now we have bred horses, dogs and even royals (as members of the royal family would often marry those of “blue blood”). On the fun side, we made living things glow in dark “florescent Zebra Fish” are available in market in just 10 dollars. But now we can control what happens much more precisely by editing the DNA.

Today we have featherless chickens, super muscled pigs, salmons that grow super-fast, and see-through frogs. Will we have super humans tomorrow?

Will gene editing lead to the end of disease, designer babies and eternal youth?

Until recently gene editing was too expensive and too difficult to pull off. But a recent technology called CRISPR is changing that.

CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspacted Short Pallindromic Repeat) shrinks the cost by 99% and takes a few weeks to do what used to take years. It literally has the potential to change the humanity genetically forever. It’s a kind of DNA archive that arms a protein called Cas9 to modify genes.

Bacteria and viruses have been on war since the door of life, so-called bacterial all phages (bacteriophages) hunt bacteria. in the ocean bacteriophages, can kill 40% of them in every single day. Phages do this by inserting their own genetic code into the bacteria and taking over all the activities. The bacteria try to resist but fails because their own defending systems are too weak to resist, but sometimes bacteria can save an attack itself only when it has a very strong antiviral (defending) system. They save virus DNA part in their own genetic DNA code in a DNA called CRISPR here it is stored safely. Now when the virus attacks again the bacterium quickly makes the RNA of that and armed a secret weapon protein called Cas9. The protein now scans the bacterium insiders and the invaders when it finds it 100% perfect match its activated and cut down the virus DNA making it useless protecting the bacteria against the viral attack. Cas9 is very precise in its working almost like the DNA surgeon. The revolution began when scientists figured it out the CRISPR system is programable, you can just give a copy of the DNA you want to modify and put this into the living cell. If the all techniques to genetic recurring shows like a map, CRISPR is like a GPS system, a sign for being precise, cheap and easy. CRISPR have the ability to edit the life of every cell by switching of the genes and target and study the particular DNA sequences.

It also works for every type of cell, micro-organisms, plants, animals or humans. But despite the revolution CRISPR is for science, it’s just the first-generation tool more precise tools are already made great edit and miracle as we think.

Scientists figured out that you can program CRISPR to edit live cells.

In 2015

Scientist used CRISPR to cut HIV out cells in mice when it was just simply injected in the mice tail it shows 44% decrease of HIV. It might be just a matter of time until CRISPR therapy in human beings cure HIV, viruses like Herps, and thousands of genetic diseases like Hemophilia or Huntington’s disease.

In 2016

CRISPR can also be to defeat our worst enemy cancer, with first clinical trials in humans approved 2016. Cancer occurs when cells refuse to die and continue multiplying while concealing themselves from the immune system CRISPR gives the means to immune yourself and make them better cancer hunters. Getting rid of cancer might eventually means just getting a couple of injections for yourselves that have been genetically engineered in labs for your good.

The first clinical trial for a CRISPR was approved in May 21st 2016 in the U.S. not even a month later Chinese scientists announced treatment with CRISPR of lung cancers in august 2016.

CRISPR can and probably will be used to create designer babies, once technology to edit human embryos becomes more rebuts. In turn, modified humans could alter the genome of our entire species once they start procreating, thus essentially making the next step in our evolution.

Once the first designer babies will be created to get rid of oblivious genetic diseases, it might become unethical to not use gene editing. If you cure someone.

As genetic modification, will become more accepted, we’ll start enhancing human characteristics like eye sight, height, muscular structure, intelligence and more. The challenges are more enormous and maybe it is unachievable. But it is conceivable to people’s life of today.

Even further of our future we could engineering humans to be quit for extended space travel and cope with different conditions of life in our planet which would be extremely helpful in keeping us alive.

but his technology also has a little bit scary when we have elongate, and genetic engineering might just be a step in the evolution in the natural evolution of an intelligent species in the universe. We might extend our lives, we might eradicate diseases, and travel to the stars there is no need to think when comes to this topic, whatever you think about genetic engineering the future is approaching no matters you wants.

What has been insane in science fiction is about to become a new reality. A reality full of opportunities and challenges.




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