CRISPR Gene Editing Expanding Pre-clinical Studies Beyond Mice and Fruit Flies

CRISPR gene editing is being used to modify exotic species to expand labs beyond the use of mice, fruit flies and monkeys.

CRISPR placed genes into cuttlefish and bobtail-squid embryos for the first time. The genetically modifications make the cephalopods’ neurons to light up when they fire. This enables easy study of their brains and nervous systems.

Adding or removing genes in new animals and plants means that we will have a better understanding of the biosphere and potentially create animal models that more are more accurate than mice at predicting what will happen with humans for medical treatments.

Researchers have created a tool called CHOPCHOP, which allows them to design a CRISPR system for editing specific genes in any DNA snippet. Scientists have sent genetic sequences from more than 200 different species, including plants, fungi, viruses and farm animals.

22 thoughts on “CRISPR Gene Editing Expanding Pre-clinical Studies Beyond Mice and Fruit Flies”

  1. Heh, like the observer going through the event-horizon of a black hole wouldn’t necessarily be aware of it at the time.

    Although . . . the year that would most likely experience multiple cascading technological singularities would be somewhere around 2053. I’d suggest we meet back here to discuss and compare but, assuming we both survive that long, we might be a bit busy that year.

  2. I dont believe in the idea of an accumulation point of tech revolutions around
    2060, rather in something akin to a continuation of Moore’s law by other means, since accelerating progress meets accelerating difficulties.
    The existence of superAI will allow us to solve these difficulties, and progress
    will go on in an exponential way, somewhere stuck to linear.

  3. Makes sense. Only one mammal lives longer than humans (and that’s probably because it lives in very cold arctic water all year with a slower metabolism).

    But there are a lot of animals that live longer than humans.

  4. Why I tend to think the technological singularity in the late 2030s is more likely to be synthetic intelligence (sometimes called strong AI), followed by the technological singularity in the late 2040s being the biological singularity (human life extension increasing average lifespan by more than one year per year).

    The earlier one enables the subsequent one.

    And since neither will be cheap (at least not at first, by present day standards) they will require the cornucopia created by full automation through cognitive automation (currently taking baby steps, compared to what it will be doing in the mid-2020s).

  5. Sharks and other species that live in water have an advantage over us in this area, in the sense that they can keep growing for a long time without encountering weight bearing limits.

    Continuing growth makes longevity easier, because the new tissue has some time before it becomes non-functional. Keeping tissue that isn’t growing functional is more of a challenge, biologically.

  6. DNA origami is just another stepping stone to diamondoid nanotech, in the same way wood and stone were stepping stones to steel, and steel to engineering polymers, in addition to being useful in their own right. Even a limited ability to manipulate matter on that scale helps reach the next goal.

  7. With complete mastery of life you could make trees growing salami as
    fruits, complete with little ropes and label.

  8. Though don’t trees demonstrate that wetware nanotech CAN make large, strong, long-lasting and useful structures from dirt (and air)?

  9. What I wanted to say is that we shouldn’t squander resources
    on sideline efforts while we have immortality within our reach,
    unless these sideline efforts can be. connected with the main effort.

  10. We know that sharks, for example, are able to live many centuries.
    What I would like is a virus, or group of viruses, able to reach every
    cell of my body, and rewrite my DNA so that I can share these traits.
    As I understand it, the problem is that we still dont know how to rewrite the code, and that we still dont know how to reach every cell of the body. Your good lifestyle advices can add a few decades at maximum.

  11. An intelligence boost could be necessary in order to be able to develop longevity techniques, this is the connection.

  12. Don’t see the connection. Cephalopods are very short lived. One to two years. And intelligence doesn’t correlate well with longevity. Examples of longest lived animals are jellyfish, quahogs, sharks and tortoises.

  13. There are all kinds of ways to get a longevity boost. And scientists are moving fast on many fronts. Senolytics, a few antioxidants, AGE (advanced glycation end products) formation inhibitors (and dietary steps to reduce AGE intake), telomere extenders, near fasting every other day, diabetic drugs, NAD+ boosters, mitochondria recycling accelerators (including HIT exercise), avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and other harmful drugs/toxins, getting clean air and water, getting optimal nutrients, and dealing well with stress.

    Just this stuff we already have could make a large difference. Probably not many people doing all these things.

    If you wait for proof though, you will be waiting longer than you have left.

    There will probably be other more expensive options like pig organs, generic surgery, and later, nanites.

    I am not saying we should add these protocadherin genes, just because we do not have them. We would want to see a clear benefit to each and no harm to concern about, and consideration of, others and other key human treasures. We certainly don’t want to make a bunch of sadists, sociopaths, and predators. Intellect at all costs, does not interest me.

    If everyone lost 5 IQ points but no one was cruel, vindictive, manipulative or inconsiderate, that would be one heck of a great trade.

    Often though, in reality, brighter people tend to be more ethical. Though this association may be limited to the negative effects of lead and the positive effects of iodine.

  14. Yep! I think it is quantum entanglement and quantum computers that allow monitoring and manipulating atoms (Brain control or telepathy)

  15. There is one particular group of genes cphalpods have that is very interesting and potentially could boost human intellect if we borrowed them:

    “Among the study’s findings was an unexpected abundance of a family of genes called protocadherins, which until recently were thought to exist only in vertebrates. “Cadherins are cell adhesion molecules,” Albertin says. “They stick out from a cell and allow that cell to glue itself to other cells that have a cadherin domain sticking out too.” Protocadherins—a subfamily—regulate neuronal development. “They’re expressed during the early development of the brain,” says Albertin. “It’s thought that they act as little signposts important in setting up the wiring” by determining which neurons should stick together. The octopus genome contains a whopping 168 protocadherin genes, vastly outnumbering those in other animals’ genomes. Humans, for example, only have around 60 protocadherins.”

  16. We are already in contact with an alien technology far more advanced than ours. This
    is what life is. Mastering it will probably require the capacity of a superAI, though.

  17. Yep. Humans will be able to program the biosphere, for ill or good.

    And nanotech will be wetware.

    All the Drexlerian capabilities of nanomachines can be obtained from DNA origami.

    Of course, with the restrictions of organic materials in terms of environment (mostly on water), temperature, pH, etc.

    That’s too bad for the dreams of universal assemblers making roads and buildings from dirt, but good for the prospect of atomically precise assembly of materials in raw quantities on chemical vats, and one day even complex machinery, once the DNA origami can 3D assemble things with silicon and metal.

    Also very good for the prospect of using nanotech for medicine, given the body of living beings will be compatible with the nanos.

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