I am an Arctic researcher. Donald Trump is deleting my citations
I’m stunned by this article. First of all, I had no idea the previous Canadian government destroyed 100 years of Arctic climate data. Secondly, we joke about Trump’s corruption, greedy business mind and being bought off by the Russians and huge corporations (does he think money is all that there is?), and his utter stupidity when tweeting about climate (“It’s freezing where I am so there cannot be global warming”), but this is real. This is systematic, deliberate climate change denial on behalf of big oil and other huge corporations because…money.
How are we allowing this? How are people becoming so blindly led, so brainwashed, so indignant and angry at the wrong people, at each other, instead of at those who have the power to destroy anything they want and are doing so. These very people are our downfall – of everyone, planet-wide. They deny science and deny fact to protect profit and greed, at all of our expense and at the expense of our precious living planet.
“Dr. Josiah Zayner, a scientist, biohacker, and founder of the biotech company, The Odin, is a member of this futuristic group and the first person known to have edited his own DNA.”
This article clearly overstates the “results” of Zayner’s human experiments on himself for click-bait value, as the results are presently unknown.
After studying Genetics as part of my BSc. Zoology degree, we were asked to write an essay on the ethical implications of the new CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing tools (happily, I got a first class mark). Indeed CRISPR raises a host of ethical questions and considerations. CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) was discovered and developed by two scientists in separate universities from naturally occurring gene editing systems within bacteria. The scientists were Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier. They saw the simple yet effective method by which bacteria’s immune defence systems literally cut out invading viruses using enzymes, including the Cas-9 enzyme. It cuts viral DNA when encountered and creates CRISPR arrays which allow the bacteria to ‘remember’ the virus. When encountering the virus again (or something similar) the bacteria then use RNA segments from these CRISPR arrays to target the viral DNA and cut it up, rendering it safe.
It is not dissimilar to mammalian immune systems, where proteins (immunoglobulins) are created in response to encountering antigens (foreign bodies), which can then be triggered if encountering the same (or similar) foreign bodies again. The CRISPR-Cas9 system can be likened to the cut, copy and paste tools in editing software – it is exactly what CRISPR does with genetic material. Scientists have worked out a way of utilising this system in the lab to edit genomes. It can cut out, put back and move genes around.
The downside? Research has some way to go before we fully understand what all of our genes do, and how they interact with each other. A gene in one location on a strand of DNA may interact with and affect a gene in another location far away on the same strand. We don’t yet understand all of the complex interactions between genes. We do know that there are usually many dormant genes within a genetic strand, remnants of the evolutionary past of an animal or plant. So if you cut out a gene, how might that affect other genes? If you put one in, will it trigger a dormant gene? In some cases, scientists know exactly how to trigger dormant genes.
It is somewhat reassuring to know that experimentation is primarily limited to somatic cells and that it is uncommon in most countries to carry out genome editing on germline or embryonic cells. There are countries which practice outside of any agreed ethical codes, or any rules are largely unenforceable, so that some scientists may already be carrying out genome editing experiments on embryos and germ cells. However, allowances have already been made for genome editing to be carried out on early embryos in the UK and other countries. What is truly terrifying is that all other animals are at the mercy of our whims in the world of genome editing experimentation.
It is clear that we are fairly radically playing with a puzzle without the benefit of the full picture to work with. Gene editing is still firmly in the experimental stages of its evolution, with some amazing results, and some truly horrifying results which the general public never see or hear about (think cloning labs – they exist and the success rate is very, very low).
This is the stuff of the future, of history, of nightmares and dreams…and of Marvel comic books. Bio hacking meet the world, a world full of unethical, immoral practices and people only too happy to abuse and destroy for short-sighted greed. What could go wrong? Zayner (and others) is literally opening Pandora’s box by making gene editing kits available to anyone who can afford the price of the kit. However, what’s in the box is incredible and has almost unlimited potential for a world where disease is non-existent, where some of the damage we’ve done can be rectified, and where humans might be altered in ways limited only by imagination.
Personally I’m still holding out for those wings, and an echolocation system.
“U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists and collaborators discovered that long-wave ultraviolet (UV) light directed at the wings of bats with white-nose syndrome (WNS) produced points of distinctive orange-yellow fluorescence. The orange-yellow glow corresponds directly with microscopic skin lesions that define the current “gold standard” for diagnosing WNS.”
Diet key to feeding the world in 2050 without further deforestation, modelling suggests – Science News – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
I think vegan communities have been saying this for some years now. It’s common sense. It’s absolutely shameful that we are carrying out such horrific levels of deforestation as a result of western obsessions with a meat-based diet. None of this destruction was ever necessary.
Use India as our history lesson – do what is healthy and sustainable. Go vegan!
C’mon. It’s not rocket science. #GoVegan
We all know that mtDNA isn’t human in origin and was probably originally an assimilated bacteria (chloroplasts in plants being the result of a similar evolutionary occurrence of engulfed cyanobacterium), but apparently there’s more.
“In fact, about 8 percent of what we think of as our “human” DNA actually came from viruses. In some cases, HERV sequences have been adopted by the human body to serve a useful purpose, such as one that helps pregnant women’s bodies build a cell layer around a developing fetus to protect it from toxins in the mother’s blood.”
I think that once you see the truth – once your eyes are fully prized apart – the full horror of what we do to our fellow animals today never leaves you. Part of that can be knowing you participated in it by eating meat, dairy, eggs, etc. I was traumatised for months/years. I’m still traumatised, in truth. I still find a lot of animal cruelty witness/evidence videos hard or impossible to watch.
I’m vegan 4+ years now, vegetarian since I was a kid, and I still have nights I fall asleep in tears. I no longer wake up feeling helpless, however. Veganism IS the thing that heals you; it is incredibly empowering knowing you’re not funding or condoning the animal holocaust anymore. Protesting is also empowering. Volunteering and campaigning is great.
Meeting other vegans helps a lot. Connecting and sharing with vegans is the way to lift that horrible sense of hopelessness and impotent rage. You have to believe that the world is changing. That is the only way to keep going. (It’s just so slow!)
Is this surprising? Not remotely, in my opinion. Think about it. You kind of have to have a stronger-than-average ability or tendency to empathise to get to the point of thinking: “I can’t continue to contribute to industrial animal farming. I can’t continue to eat animals I claim to love.” Take that a little bit further… recognise and empathise with the brutal, systematic violence and abuse of dairy farming; egg hatcheries that grind all male chicks alive; the deeply unhealthy, perverse breeding of animals to produce more eggs, more milk, more meat, more wool… It’s not a huge stretch for someone who can feel as they feel to see why that kind of person would go vegan in a heartbeat (and consequently suffer emotional trauma and depression in the process of enlightenment – covered in my second blog link for today).
Of course veggies and vegans are more empathetic. How could we not be?
Now, I wish I’d had this handy guide the last two times I stayed in Reykjavik, but we found vegan options anyway. This is a great guide to eating vegan in the land of fire and ice.
There’s a lot to be said for friendship (and oxytocin).