CRISPR muscle boosting gene therapy at few thousand dollars per year will go mainstream

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.

He has a DIY human CRIPR DNA guide.

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.

Josiah Zayner discussed his personal biohacking where he injected himself with CRISPR gene therapy in a live video on Facebook.

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.

In 2015, Chinese researchers reported successfully using gene editing for myostatin for making more muscular dogs.

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.

18 thoughts on “CRISPR muscle boosting gene therapy at few thousand dollars per year will go mainstream”

  1. Those genome-kids and their availability poses a larger treat then a nuclear strike.
    Human race annihilation, one can make a blocking gene, and also provide a super deadly disease for those without the blocking gene.

  2. He is not selling it with an efficient cell delivery system, so it is pretty much a PR stunt… for now.

    I imagine manufacturing a delivery system such as a specialised lipposome could come down in cost in the near future.

    Still, rather than permanently altering someone’s DNA, for gene knockdown such as this you’d probably be better off just using RNAi via a spherical nucleic acid.

  3. I’m seeing a big market for this: helping elderly people to be less frail and dependant on others due to wasting of muscular tissue. I’d take it if I had the need.

    Of course, plenty of people will take this just because it produces 15% bigger/78% stronger muscles in the long term by doing nothing in special beyond the injections.

    Also bigger muscles consume more calories, resulting in a faster metabolism and easier weight loss. I see very few donsides to this, but some caution must be had as with any new therapy.

  4. Does it only do skeletal muscles or can it do heart muscles too? And wouldn’t the skeleton be a major concern since it would probably need to be reinforced along with the joints and such? Or am I just being stupid like usual?

    • You would want all of the “support” biology (bones, tendons, blood supply, etc.) to scale up with the muscularity. I would be interested in such a therapy only if this were to be the case.

    • Short answer: no (regarding heart muscle)

      Slightly longer answer; simply growing heart muscle 15% might not help much and might reduce ejection fraction, though the increase in strength is possibly a plus (but might not matter as much as you think). Myostatin does appear to affect how the heart uses the energy it has, so there might be a benefit.

      If you have healthy bones and cartilage a 78% increase in strength is probably not going to harm anything, There will always be some outlier.

      This is also the beginning of the CRISPR journey, stronger bones and cartilage (and heart repair) may end up on the menu at some point.

    • Just to clarify my previous answer, no, myostatin inhibition does not increase mass or strength of cardiac muscle. It has been tested (in mice). The hypothetical about the results was misleading.

        • Urinary Incontinence was addressed by the Germans using stem cells about 10 years ago. If I remember correctly. They said they had a 80% success rate.

  5. I remember reading Ribofunk – a science fiction anthology novel by Paul DiFilipo – and one of its stories depicted body-modding as an underground fashion scene. Guess it beats piercings.

  6. Okay, but where’s the big penis genemod kit? Joe Wong and other wumao are saving up.

    Why limit this to male traits? Estradiol is known to have certain effects on the female physique.

    • 99% chance you are a white guy. Only white guys fantasize about Asian cocks. BTW, since you obsess over big penises, are you subscribed to Blacked?

      • LOL! If anything it’s just the OPPOSITE! I can’t walk through koreatown without the male slant eyed population oogling my package!

    • Not…good… effects.

      Performance enhancement for females is taken as AAS, as well. Women don’t take estrogenic compounds for performance enhancement.

Comments are closed.