Friday , April 23 2021

DNA Edition: End of Genetic Diseases?

Through Diego Pereyra, specialist in Intensive Therapy and Techniques, Coordinator of the Intensive Care Unit in Sanatorium Güemes (MN 122 603)

For several years We can know the information contained within our genome. This is possible due to the DNA sequence, which contains information for each individual: height, eye color, gender and even the genetic load to develop some pathology. Yes, in the human genome we can see if we have a prerequisite for cancer or if our baby will be born with any genetic pathology. Everything is written in the genome.

In 2012, Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier described a method of editing and correcting DNA. To understand, let's consider a word processor's correction: If I miss a word, the program will automatically find the error and suggest the correct option. Similarly, if my DNA has a bad written sequence (for example, I say that I will develop some type of anemia), with the method of these researchers – called "CRISPR-Cas9" – I can recognize the error in DNA cutting the deviating sequence and paste a normal sequence for the misspelled sector. Thus, I manage to delete the information from the root and cure the disease definitely.

As we can see, this technology has no limits. In laboratory tests The manipulated DNA mice and managed to change their hair color, cure their diseases and even change any aspect of the rodents. It is worth saying that with this technique we can manipulate DNA as we would like. In fact, CRISPR-Cas9 technology has already reached people: nowadays It is used in many investigations dedicated to cures for cancer, anemia, cystic fibrosis and also cures for HIV-AIDS. In fact, it can be the end of many diseases.

However, Doudna elevates in a TED speech that we can also manipulate the human genome to create people with harder, higher bones or choose the eye color before birth. In other words, we could create "superhumans". Therefore, the expert urges the entire research team to stop and open the discussion: where do we go and what do we want to achieve with this technique. Because it can quietly be used to create super soldiers, who can not get sick and invincible. Therefore, this technique encourages use for good use in medicine, as some of those already mentioned: prenatal diagnosis of genetic diseases and their correction, cancer treatment and HIV, etc.

In 2016, during my time at Singularity University (at NASA Research Park), I was given the opportunity to get a genetic test. From some saliva you can, among other things, see it I own a gene called FOXP2, linked to the ability to speak and learn a language of all ages. Imagine if a pregnant mother was told that her child did not have that gene and the obstetrician along with epigenetic specialists offered to "add it" … or maybe change the eye color.

This advance must also be read in another context: life expectancy worldwide increases. Every time we live for several years, product of the new technology in medicine, the new drugs to cure diseases and the genetically engineered foods we take. Recall that before life's discovery of penicillin in 1928, life expectancy in the world was approximately 45 years. Today, there are new medical specialties that study life expectancy It is predicted that man in 2070 will be able to live for 120 years.

then, If we managed to eliminate all these diseases, how would it affect the world? What would happen to basic problems like water, food, physical space, natural resources or global warming if we are so many on earth? All of these are the major issues we investigate in medicine and other professions.

Welcome medical technology for proper use and cure of diseases. The future of medicine has emerged. See you in 50 years.

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