Josiah Zayner is CEO of the biohacking-promoting startup The Odin.
He has injected himself with performance enhancing gene therapy to grow larger muscles.
He is selling a $20 myostatin inhibitor plasmid. This must be combined with a $300 gRNA in a plasmid that also expresses Cas9 which an be ordered online.
Odin sells other gene kits.
Most all CRISPR systems are composed of 2-3 components
1. The Cas9 protein which cuts the DNA
2. The tracrRNA and crRNA, which when synthetically combined are called a “guide RNA” but also called sgRNA(synthetic guide RNA) or gRNA
4. The template for repair if doing homology directed repair
For each CRISPR experiment you need to figure out before you start
1. Where in the genome will this happen?
2. What do I want to put into the genome or what base changes do I want to make?
Gene knock-out steps
Choose your guideRNA that will target your gene of interest using one of three websites below and then order from Addgene or Atum.
Josiah’s favorite is Atum who easily allows you to design a gRNA either to a custom sequence or a gene found in their database. It costs ~$300 for a gRNA in a plasmid that also expresses Cas9. i.e. it is ready for for use in humans.
Myostatin gene therapy successes in Monkeys and Dogs
One person in a million has natural myostatin inhibition genes. Myostatin inhibited humans have extra large muscles and tend to eat more calories. The reason it was not selected in human evolution is because they would be more vulnerable to starvation in hunter gatherer societies. This increased risk of starvation is generally not an issue in modern society.
In 2009, work was done on Macaque monkeys. Commonly scientific work is on rhesus macaques.
Researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital have shown that a gene delivery strategy that produces follistatin — a naturally occurring protein that inhibits myostatin, a growth factor expressed specifically in skeletal muscle — directly to the quadriceps of non-human primates results in long-term gene expression with muscle enhancing effects, including larger muscles with greater strength. The muscles were 15% bigger, 78% stronger and the effect lasted for the 15 month study with no negative health effects. The treatment produced no obvious negative side-effects and human clinical trials were expected to start in 2010.
The dog gene editing worked and it was easy. Thus the fears that it would be done by humans which with the kits it clearly will be.
If it works better than steroids then ten million or more people will use it
About ten million humans use steroids for performance enhancement and to improve appearance. Gene therapy Myostatin inhibitors will be like more powerful steroids.
Lance Armstrong was willing to transfuse and replace all of his blood at regular intervals in order to use endurance performance enhancement without being detected.
This genetic performance enhancement with a cost range of a few thousand dollars per year is being used and will see significant adoption and experimentation by the hard core steroid community. How much adoption there is will almost entirely be based upon how well it grows muscles. Clearly the steroid community is willing to accept some significant health risks and side effects.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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