Is It Possible to Live Forever Using Human Genetic Engineering?

Genomic sequencing has now become affordable to the average citizen. Knowing our genome can help us determine our risks of genetic disorders, the effect of medication on us, and the DNA of cancer cells. Genomic sequencing can identify specific microbes that are attacking us and very specific medical diagnosis’s when symptoms, imaging, and lab reports do not tell us enough. The first companies that brought consumers their personal genome with statistical data analysis was 23andMe and Navagenics. These new genetic consumer services have created databases and interactive programs that allow hundreds of thousands of people to find out what personal programming (DNA) they are composed of and how they may be affected by it. Strange but true: people will have spit parties so that they can all get together and spit into their own test tube and send it to the sequencing company. Besides having a party for science and health, they also save money, because they get a group discount on the sequencing. Both companies send test tubes that the customer spits into and sends back to the company, where the spit is sequenced and an online account is set up so the consumer can research their DNA online and participate in many activities. They also constantly get updates related to the newest scientific, genealogical, and medical information that is related to their specific genes.

The difference between these current genome services and the soon to be available to your doctor genomic services, are in the type of genome that is sequenced (reported). The current consumer genome is composed of exomes which are the genes in your DNA that are expressed (used to make proteins and enzymes to build and run your body) but they are only 1% of your genome. The newest genomes will include the introns, which are also known as the “regulatory genes” or “junk genes” that make up 99% of your genome. While we are not sure how they work or how they regulate the genes (exomes) that are expressed, these complete genomes are sure to become critical once cloud computing, IBM’s Dr. Watson, and quantum computers start to analyze massive data bases of patient’s during treatments.

Oxford Nanopore is developing a desktop DNA sequencing machine that can sequence a genome within a matter of hours. The short sequencing time and the ability of both researchers and clinicians having this in their own office are fantastic upgrades in the extremely fast evolution of genetics. In the Oxford Nanopore MinION sequencer the genetic specimen is contained in a throw away USB drive that is plugged into the desktop sequencer. Researchers and doctors will be able to stack these thin laptop sized sequencers on top of each other and sequence and analyze many genomes every day.

This next video is Dr. John Rothberg explaining what personal genomics can do for us. The video also introduces us to the Beery family and how their personal genomes diagnosed dystonia, was not diagnosed with traditional medical tests.

Sequencing our DNA is the first step, we have moved on to designing chromosomes by printing specially tailored genes and placing them in the cell’s DNA so that  the ribosomes will build new proteins or enzymes, thereby giving the living entity new capabilities. This genetic engineering process has been used by hundreds young scientists that compete yearly in the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Foundation competitions. This synthetic biology competition, that started over a decade ago at MIT, has been building the open source Registry of Standard Biological Parts for genetic engineering, giving the scientists around the world valuable biological tools for free. While these experiments are usually based on altering genes in e-coli, the principles of genetic engineering are gleamed with this newest biological manufacturing technology.

The next video is Omri Amirav-Drory, on synthetic life toolkits, such as the Genome Compiler, that can be applied to print out valuable genes for genetic engineering in diverse species.

Human genetic engineering is being developed to print genes using a genomic compiler software system to enhance capabilities. A company called Genome Compiler Corporation is working to master the science and art of upgrading genetically modified organisms with biological enhancements. Genetic engineers have already designed artificial genes and combined genes from different species. An example of these synthetic biology experiments is using the genes from the lightening bug and placing them into plants that make a fluorescent tree or hedge to create a natural lighting system or multi colored night garden. Or turn yogurt into Prozac, and metabolism-altering bacteria fed to pigeons that turns pigeon poo into soap. We can even alter our cells by initially growing them outside of our body to change their shape and function. Experiments have shown success at growing neurons onto microelectronics so that we can attach cybernetic ready neurons to bionic limbs to receive data signals more accurately from millimeter sized computers that are embedded throughout our body. We are able to design and order DNA right off the internet to find ways to change the world. The genomes of people that live a healthy 106 to 116 years old (centenarians and supercentenarians) show us some of the most optimal longevity gene combinations. These longevity DNA combinations will be created and placed into our own DNA using the designer software genome compiler. This is the future for human genetic engineering.

The Techno-Philanthropist and the Rising Billion

Speeding up the already rapid pace of exponential growth of technology, is a new phenomenon called the techno-philanthropist. The techno-philanthropists are the new breed of entrepreneurs that have made a large fortune with technology and are quickly helping to finance start-up companies with even better technological answers to meet the grand challenges of humanity. Another phenomenon that is speeding up the explosive pace of technology, is “the rising billion.” As Dr. Diamandis explains “During the next decade, several billion new people will become connected to the developed world online, they and their computational power, will add new ideas, solutions, products, and even boost the world economy as they become consumers.” People fear that the technologies to regenerateour body, design enhanced senses, stop ageing , create synthetic smart tissues, cybernetic limbs and organs, incorporate brain computer interfaces, diagnostic patches, and nanotechnology medicine to enhance our body and mind, will be too expensive for everyone. That is not so, this future will be affordable to all because the technology to make living forever happen will cost next to nothing since it will be nano sized and micro sized, making production costs incredibly cheap.

We are applying the rapid exponential evolution of computers, and machines to solve humanities problems. Here is the level of consumer interaction with artificial intelligence in 1995: a desktop computer with Windows 3.1 or 95, dialup, less than 1% of the population online, floppy drives, and 4 Mb Ram. Computer use was an assortment of the blue screen of death, sending your computer out for a month or two to get fixed by the company you bought it from, really long download times, constantly being disconnected from your internet service then redialing up your modem and listening to the infernal sound of dialup as you waited for it to connect and then redialing it up until the modem is successful. Simple DOS software programs filled computers; no one in the family could use the phone while you were online. The quality of content online was terrible, and only two $1,000 low resolution digital cameras existed. The goofy fearful opinions about what computers were doing to people socially and mentally or how this computing was the devils playground was rampant. The important lesson learned was do not to listen to future predictions from people that do not understand the mechanisms of action involved. Today we are light years past that Neanderthal era of humanities AI experiences.   

Once the era of nano science and nano technology matures (approximately 2028 to 2035) MEMS and NEMS will be used in everyone for constant diagnostics, correcting cellular damage, and upgrading human enhancement with smart cells such as the designs that Dr. Robert Freitas has been working on for decades. These nano medicine enhancements include artificial white blood cells called microbivores which, as the name implies, travel around the body destroying bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Other nano-bots include a smart red blood cell called the respirocyte that will work a hundred times more efficiently at removing and distributing respiratory gases than our own red blood cells. This will allow us to leisurely sit at the bottom of the pool for a couple hours, walk to the hospital if we have a heart attack, or sprint for 15 minutes. Nanoviricides are already going into clinical trials that work better than today’s anti-viral medications on animals in the laboratory.

Now, witness a massive jump in the exponential growth of genetic analysis, genome creation, and DNA printing. Omri Drory and Austen Heinz show us how the distant future of advanced genetic engineering has just come true.

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