Ep. 063 - CRISPR and in-home biohacking kits and where this technology may take us, plus Diego the tortoise and his amazing sex drive
In this episode, Bob & Kevin talk all things CRISPR - basically the REGEX of DNA editing... and guess what? Apparently you can do it at home... soak in the transcript below (from our friends at https://otter.ai/) and feel free to ping us on social media with your thoughts on this episode or any of our others - Follow us on twitter at https://twitter.com/bobandkevinshow.
So Bob, is this a safe place for discourse?
I hope so
I've been pretending it is for quite some
as we have the normal show disclaimer, but rather than disclaim, I mean, we'll do the normal disclaimer. But rather than just do the normal disclaimer, I'm going to go ahead and say it right now. I'm probably going to piss off the science folks. And I'm probably going to piss off the religious folks.
Why are you going to piss off the science folks? That doesn't seem like something you would do?
2020 outrage culture was born. Not that long ago and people disliked we pissed.
So what do scientists play that game? Because they're pretty factual.
There's there's different kinds of scientists, right? There's, there's Yes, there's just I mean, they're humans, right? So it depends.
I guess I just don't see Neil deGrasse Tyson getting outraged.
So something number scientists so something happened in 1984 Bob, do you know what happened?
George Orwell wrote a book.
Now he actually wrote that in 1948 but you know about the year 1984 I probably got the year you write it wrong, but as a long time ago anyway, know what you meant to say, but you didn't say is gozer that goes arion asks the Ghostbusters if they're gods. And Bob, do you remember what they say?
Oh, how did I How did I misquote that? Right?
Unknown Speaker 1:31
So do you remember what the Ghostbusters replied? Who you gonna call? Oh, in fact, they said no. I said, you know when gozer says are you a god? And they're like, no. And then she like tries to destroy them. So how does this okay, I am I'm a bastion of useless pop culture references. Okay, so Bob, would you like to play God unearth,
Kevin. I think I have since I have children, doesn't that qualify?
Yeah, maybe I guess he kind of brought life into this world and the common thing is I brought you in this world. take you out, take you out. At least that's what I was told when I was a child. Okay, so playing God,
I don't really know if I have God like playing God like tendencies. Like I'm a floater. I just kind of go where the wind takes me for the most part.
All right, so
Unknown Speaker 2:32
consider saving or manipuri manipulating populations of species of animals on earth a bit of kind of messing with how things work kind of kind of godlike a little bit.
I know where this is going. I know where you're taking me. Oh boy. Um all right no but we do well let's naturally or not
we let's develop it a little further. So there is like an article and I think his name was Diego or something the turtle maybe maybe you know his actual name. He He's been tasked he's a giant turtle has been tasked with making babies making more giant turtles.
I think he succeeded and they set him free. Yeah, he made like 2000
babies so there is at once you know a very small number. Now there's 2000 thanks to his sexual prowess as a giant turtle right? Did they I didn't read the article. Did they do it naturally or did they do it extraction and implantation? I'm pretty sure he did it the old fashioned way, Bob. Good. No, yeah. So if you listen to Joe Rogan, which I know we both do, sometimes I'll mention, wolves are being reintroduced to curb like elk populations, or do population and things like that. And other things that we kind of play God as humans is genetically modified organisms. And you and I have talked a little like three sentences, maybe on the pod and maybe a little more off about where we are with genetically modified organisms. And for the lay user, a GMO is basically vegetables that produce bigger fruit. It's going to be chickens. Well, actually, before we get the chickens,
it's gonna be basically but since the dawn of, but hang on since the dawn of time we've been genetically modifying just by breeding.
Yeah, and like, just like the turtle the good old I was trying to come up with what what do we call that as humans because we took corn because like the original corn was like really nice. You know, small Meeker looking and we use I guess, expedited natural selection to make the corn super fat and feed population.
Well, you brought up apparently something similar has happened to bananas as well, because apparently the bananas of old don't taste like the bananas today. Well,
how long have bananas tastes? They don't exist?
What? I don't think the bananas of old actually exist anymore.
All right. I mean, there's those things called playing pains or whatever they kind of look like. But I
think that there's I'll have to find the article and maybe put it in the show notes. But there's definitely some discussions about how bananas have been genetically re engineered, you know, but through breed, you know,
bananas are like the number one selling thing at Walmart. I believe. Yeah. And I used to work at a Walmart distribution center, grocery one. And bananas were like the first class citizen and products in the warehouse. I mean, you want to get in trouble. Go mess with the bananas. There's a whole team of people that will like take you down, if you can try to mess with the bananas. It's amazing.
All right. So we've we've crossbred corn Well, it's just it's very popular in the plant world to cross pollinate species to create a new plant, whether it'd be more suited to feed more people or visual appearance plants, you know, like flowering plants are pretty common there.
So there's a lot of people who are against GMOs because I guess they ignore the idea of natural expedite and natural selection because that's air quotes nature. There's also the laboratory version where they're kind of doing gene editing and then you there's no shortage of labeling. If you go you'll see gluten free and then you also see non GMO on the on the box too.
But do you think so, as far as that classification goes, they're talking about laboratory genetically modified, not classic, just cross pollinate, and I saw a tweet and I'm not gonna be able to give the person credit,
but basically, it came down to the difference between laborat And natural selection is basically this human emotional laden burden that you put upon yourself because at the end, they both won't kill you. They both taste good, and they both will feed you. So who cares whether it was in the lab or natural selection, right.
But I think in this is probably getting to the crux of we're going to anyway, I think that the general fear is if we're doing this artificially, in even so far as the artificially not encouraging the crossbreeding of species, those kind of things. But if we're doing it in a scientific lab, underneath microscopes with, you know, syringes and centrifuges, and things like that, I think the inherent fear is that that's going to cause a domino effect of negative consequence. Right.
And if we stick with food for a moment, and I told you, you know, what, here's corn, I'm not going to tell you whether it was modified by the laboratory whether it was not modified at all or was we just had many, many, many generations of expedited natural selection. Here you go. Would you eat it or not? Or would you care?
I probably wouldn't care. I definitely wouldn't know. Although like supernatural stuffs tends to be a little bit different flavor, profile, texture, all that kind of stuff. But I mean, yeah, the, it really makes no difference to that the
other buzzword in food is organic, which if you look at the rules, basically there's as long as you check back to two or three of these boxes, you can use the word organic, but it's totally in my opinion, non GMO and organic is totally a marketing term. It's totally just some hipster way of saying we're better than you and it's just the new marketing. What do you think? Yeah,
organic is more of a organic is definitely more of a an encouragement to follow a specific set of standards is outlined by some organization where the GMO is almost like a confession or not confession, like you know, so we're just letting you know this product has been genetically modified and I probably should have looked up for that. So what the true definition of genetic genetically modified is while I news on this next topic, maybe if you want to ask Mr. Google or so the next part is and so we talked about plants, and you mentioned the word breeding. So we breed plants we also breed animals so we have dogs right we I own two labradoodles that's unnatural for the most part, unless you have a Labrador now poodle, who are like friends lab thinking uh, you know, tootles can keep asking rato day Yeah, they use
like doggy Tinder, it's really weird, but you know, to, to labradoodles. So bark, left bark. And then we also have so we don't eat dogs. Well, unfortunately. But we have cattle, pig, sheep, you know, that sort of thing. We do have like the Bacon's and the stakes of the world. And we've also done a an expedited natural selection of those. We also have things like this is antibiotic free, we have free range chickens, things like that. So we definitely, I don't know that that rises to the level of God, but it definitely rises to the level of manipulation. And hopefully I've got enough time for you to tell us what GMO is defined as,
Oh, totally GMO, or genetically modified organism is a plant, animal micro or micro organism or other organism whose genetic makeup has been modified in a laboratory using genetic engineering or transgenic technology.
A couple couple $5 word. That's right. We'll just go with it. Some science involved, right?
Well, I think the I think the important part is laboratory. Okay. So if there's two different crops in a field and they cross pollinate, and it makes a crop that more suitable for fill in the blank that is not genetically modified that is just good old fashioned farming.
Unknown Speaker 11:08
You are listening to the Bob and Kevin show with Bob Baty bar and Kevin chesky. Each week we cover relevant tech and social issues related to technology. Our website is Bob and Kevin dot show. And our episodes can be found virtually on any Podcast Network. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Just search for Bob and Kevin show.
Just to take it to the extreme because that's what we do here. So if I now build four walls and a roof around your field, and they're making babies under the roof, and I stick a sign on that says, Kevin's laboratory farm is that now GMO
Would you be using genetic engineering or transgenic technology? I think the operative words in their engineering and technology
i don't know i don't think
i don't think you would. I think if you put a house over your plants that we're doing it with people don't the plants that weren't there species I think
you're I was gonna ask you then if the tomatoes that are growing in a window at grandma's house is she, you know, practicing GMO so I guess we're saying no,
so well, it's funny that you bring that up because I'm sure we'll touch on this later. Well, I'll save that. Okay, where are you taking this next?
Alright, so manipulating, breeding, growth of vegetables laboratory, things like that takes me to, you know, like, when when when an animal is going to be extinct like the turtle or loner like the black rhino or pick pick some sort of an Dangerous species as humans, and this is where I'm going to piss off probably, I don't know, maybe everybody I look at that and go, maybe we maybe we should let them all die. You know, please don't ask me. But I'm
asking No, but I think there's a definite, I don't think it's just you. I think there's a whole camp of people who believe that the natural consequences of all of our actions are those natural consequences, and we should let those play out. I think there's obviously another group camp of people who believe that we should do everything within our power. I'm doing everything in air quotes, by the way, right, everything in our power to stop that destruction based on our natural consequences. But then, however, some people in that camp would be appalled if quote unquote, unnatural methods were used to course correct, even though unnatural methods probably put us on the course in the first place.
Right. So to recap, I on one hand, we introduced Wolves to bounce an ecosystem. On the other hand, we take an ecosystem that is favoring the extinction of obsolete potentially animals. And we we artificially prop them up as
well. But I think in a lot of those cases, those are reintroductions. So, let's say especially as it relates to the wolf, the wolf used to roam free across many a continent. And then due to expansion, technology, and probably very specific measures to remove wolf populations from an area. Now, we're finding that they did serve a purpose in the conservation effort and management of wild animals. So now we're reintroducing species back into areas where they used to be but aren't any longer
and I get the whole idea that ecosystems can collapse and you have to possibly recognize it and make adjustments. But let's take it to the extreme of Bob and Kevin show favorite. So the Tyrannosaurus Rex was not completely extinct by a meteor. In fact, they lasted until the early 20th century. And the final ones were placing the captivity. Do we need to keep them alive? Is what I'm getting.
Yeah, I'm sorry. Wait, wait, this is fake. Oh,
totally. Yeah. So okay.
I was like, what books are you reading?
No, I am definitely at risk of sounding like weird flat earther. guy. I completely hypothetical. What if the T rex lived to modern times? Would there be people out there going we need to save the T Rex. Meanwhile, we haven't heard from that person in a while after the after they tried to feed it, you know?
Oh, without a doubt. There would be the save the T rex people. All right.
All right. So now we've kind of set the table here. So, imagine me,
Where is this going? So imagine you had the ability to bring back the T Rex, kind of like Jurassic Park. But your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could they didn't stop to think of a shot. Or more likely, you had the ability to prevent or cure people of genetic diseases such as I don't know. I don't know, bad stuff. There's a whole list of bad things.
Hold tight hold total list and imagine
that there's a technology allows you to cut and paste DNA like it. We're a frickin Word document, and just change the genetic code. And the recap. DNA is the double helix thing and it's got four sets of possible letters, I forget the four letters, it's like TCGA or something like that. And those are the only depending on how you combine these that's that's basically what defines Bob you as person me as person. And then everyone else. So sometimes there's errors in those. And those errors give rise to diseases. So there's a technology called CRISPR. Bob, do you know what CRISPR stands for? It's an acronym.
I do have a tab open somewhere that tells me what CRISPR means. All right.
clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, wow, say that 10 times fast. So we're just going to call it CRISPR moving forward,
and it's also typically grouped with a
Unknown Speaker 17:39
protein called cast
nine, but there are more than one. So there's technology and it's I don't want to call old technology, but it's emerging technology, but it's been around for at least five years or so. And it allows this cut and paste of somebody's DNA. So the first question I had for myself was this Wait a second, you can cut and paste so DNA but DNA is per cell, right? So each cell has the same DNA, but if I want to cut and paste, you know, a skin cell, great, but what about the other cells in my body? How do I, you know, make it propagate through my body or whatnot. So I looked this up. And there's two ways to do this. They can either take cells out of your body, cut and paste and then put them back in. Or they can add at at the sperm egg level at the embryo stage, you know, right when it combined get the first cell they can edit that one cell, and they subdivide, now it's in every cell in your body sounds awesome, doesn't about we can just cure every disease, the end.
Highly unlikely that that's the short. All right, well,
let's let's look some more at kind of how it works. So I watched the, I guess, the equivalent of TED talks and stuff on this in different videos on YouTube. So essentially, what CRISPR is is a molecular scalpel. It's actually according to them, Well, actually, it's very accurate, easy, quick and inexpensive. Those are usually things you don't associate with like new modern cutting edge tech technology, right?
Yeah, I think like legit machine is only like
10 grand. And so there's a you can you can buy kits online for about $200 and you can do biohacking on yourself. And the way it works is in your cells, you have RNA, and they they program these proteins to look for a certain sequence of genes or nucleate proteins, if you will, in your body. And once it finds a match, it will then cut and paste the take the old one out, or I guess it'll be cut and recut. Yeah, it'd be cut and paste.
Yeah, it can remove completely, it can replace or it can repair and repair would just be realigning the CGS T's and the is to put it in the desired sequence.
So the programmer amigos, ah, so this is pretty much a regex. So based on this pattern and kind
of it kind of is
and Bob, when you if you have 99 problems totally. Okay. Yeah. So, because imagine what would happen and this happens all the time programming, hey, I think I got the the pattern to match and then you apply in it, either a doesn't match or B. What's worse is it matches a bunch of stuff you didn't intend it to match. So that's, that's kind of,
if I have trouble with a regex for a phone number, for instance, right? You're telling me that scientists have figured out the regex for all DNA sequences or Well, I guess I haven't figured out for all of them. But they the literature says it's relatively simple. I believe that's a quote to pretty much decode anywhere they want to
so We can't so phone numbers, tough emails even more like controversial because there's like, hey, I need to read it. If you Google the regex for email, you will get so many answers that all of them say are right. And then there's the well, actually guy who always puts a little comments that go for it. Well, actually, it doesn't cover this cares. Okay, whatever. I got it. Okay. So, what's what's this best for? Well, apparently, if you have a single gene that's jacked up, this is the best thing so far that they've got. And one other delivery method that they have for this. And the idea here is this is going to cure some disease, that one delivery method that they're trying to use is create a virus that attacks every cell in your body, and it performs the cut and paste everywhere in your body. So the virus becomes Yeah, the transport mechanism, if you will.
That's basically the process they were outlining in NPR. episode of radiolab that I listened to a couple years ago. I think they actually just revisited it not too long ago so
one of my kids has to get monthly infusions at the hospital and we have to do that for his foreseeable future for life as far as you know cuz he got a jacked up immune system. So there's a bit of an appeal here that hey, you know, we can do this here. If you know somebody with cancer, I guess that's one application to they can program. Things to, you know, attack cancer. But what, what is kind of weird when people kind of go to the Black Mirror episodes are you know, could you create a super soldier? Could you create a designer child or whatnot, right, so that's where it starts getting weird.
Well, I think that's the slippery slope for most technology. Even that Netflix, limited series, I guess is what they're calling it that you had recommended even in episode one. That the practical uses versus the I would say cosmetic uses that Joe user biohacking in their basement. Like it was almost three to one cosmetic type.
Wow, that's an awesome transition because I got a list of things here that well, if this were possible, what what could people use this for? Well, obesity would be one of them, right? Hey, I want to be able to eat whatever I want. And I want my body to be able to just whatever, you know, that's, that's what I want Oreos every day and I still look amazing. So that's, that's one thing that people would use for vanity, right?
Yes, so you got that metabolic and then also, like the muscle tissue, like the ability to multiply muscle tissue at a faster and
just to make things weird. Breast augmentation, right. Right now, it's very popular for women to do breast augmentation or reduction, if you will, some sort of body modification there and for men I don't have to lead you very far to tell you what men might want to do.
If we say male enhancement, can we put that in the show title and get that click Yes.
Let's say one more time male, enhance male and there we go. So it'll definitely be in the transcript. Now, the SEC to me would be the next thing. Wouldn't it be great if you didn't have to do anything other than take an injection and now you're just
shooting blanks. They almost have that down to an injection at this point. Anyway, it's such microsurgery so
and along these lines, what what if we perfect this so much, and I'm just going I like going to the black near end of the spectrum, sometimes what if we no longer procreate the old way air quotes, everyone becomes sterile through an injection, and then you just order your baby online
you from the central repository.
You've heard this story before, except this time, you're going to take a swab of your mouth and then your potential mate And he sent both q tips in and Eddie that sounds high and for Box Tops from your favorite cereal and it goes to the central repository they engineer your child from an embryo they basically go the freezer and you know do their thing and you know drop in your whatever it is they do and then your kid shows up the woman doesn't even have to go through the pain of childbirth anymore they everything is custom ordered. It's your kid there's hopefully knows no swapping of DNA with the wrong donor you know? Yeah, whatever. What do you think?
Let's let's take it back a half stuck, because I think the one of the original like sales jobs part of this would be we can eliminate x and x in this instance the sales job part of it would be something awful that is taking lives at a at a high rate at this time. current state in our you know our our global community of people so let's say that that works like without without a large dollar payment because it seems like this would be in the best interest of mankind so why would it be expensive first of all that would never go down like that it would be super expensive to start but let's say that they could fix something that that affected a lot of people the the immediate cascade effect is that of that is we have people starving all over the world now anyway, they do. So why would we want to artificially inflate our population that's already growing at an extreme rate?
And oh, so one of the specials that I was watching brought up immortality sounds great, right? We can live forever that's a shitty idea. It is a shitty idea and be even if you double the life of humans 200 years imagine the food requirements and the just the Annette air the the The actual cleaning of the human population numbers won't happen at the same rate. I mean, you want to talk about overpopulation now,
right? The only thing I could think of that would be worse than being 100 would be being 200. Ah,
well, okay because of aging, but did you know that the common lobster does not age?
Okay, by what standard?
I don't know I they were talking about how lobsters don't age and I guess squids, there's like different things that don't they still die. They're not immortal. But they don't age. They're the same, like, age wise. I don't know how you determine age of a lobster. But
you asked him, Hey,
I'm 32 but I feel like I'm six months or whatever.
I'm calling so much bullshit on that statement. The lobster doesn't Google it.
Check it, look into it, look into it.
Alright, but the simplest Like ourselves age, like that's a known thing, cells age and die, right? And they're not they're not the same as the day that they were formed. So how do we have organisms swimming around our oceans don't age? Well,
I we'd have to look up the definition of aging. But the implication here is if humans can take lobster DNA and put it into humans, perhaps we don't age either or we can even reverse the effects of aging.
Or we end up with a hard outer shell and well, okay,
see, I love I love your we didn't plan this. But you have another bullet point I have on here.
Also, we never plan anything just in case. Well, we don't we do plan
separately, just not collaboratively. So right. But imagine, we're like, Hey, we got this figured out. You can go on Amazon. Order your crisper kit. You're like, Hey, you know what, instead of those tacky wild eyes for Halloween, I want real red eyes this year. So you go on Amazon you buy a crisper kit suddenly have red eyes You're like I'm getting tired of the red eyes. Let me go back to blue. Oh, you should make them like glow bioluminescent eyes when that be cool, you know kind of like the night King from Game of Thrones. Yeah, yeah. Add that to cart to Yeah, get one for me get one for me right what could go wrong?
Yeah, but have you ever cut a piece of paper and then pasted it back together and then cut it again and pasted it back together. Eventually, eventually the ship gets shorter. And eventually it just breaks
kind of like if you take a JPEG and just keep receiving 1000 times it turns into this. So what I'm getting at here is, are we risking creating bio disasters by making this super easy and convenient? I would say yes, we're going to have that exoskeleton that we didn't mean to get from the lobster because we thought we're getting a no aging but now we have these freaks of nature, right?
Yes. And did you see that panel is like the Silicon Valley Comic Con, which I imagine that's probably like the biggest freak shows of everything. But in the first episode of that Netflix special, they had that panel. And the one guy, I get what he was lobbying for, you know, this CRISPR technology is being highly regulated with good cause. But we won't know what the implications of it are if we can't test it on healthy people. So I get with the guys coming from but I just feel like you're just asking for shit ton of negative consequences.
Yeah, so like anything. So okay, let's let's take the invention of the atom bomb, which was preceded by the splitting of the atom. So when they split the atom, they probably will that the Manhattan Project was built for war purposes. And but I think it's Oppenheimer who ran the project was like, Fuck, you know, basically the cats out of the bag at this point, you know, we A new era is Dawn. And that's absolutely happened. And so the atomic bomb had some noble consequences, which is energy, nuclear submarines more military. So we had nuclear power and things like that. But it came at the consequence of having created the most destructive weapon ever. And so I look at this crisper stuff is going, Hey, this is cool. It has some good here, but it also has the consequence of having potential bio disasters, we could create some sort of biological weapon that can actually annihilate all of us overnight, you know, some virus or something
almost seamlessly and silently, right. And I think you brought up you brought up Game of Thrones, and I was just thinking about, you know, the, what was that army? The unfallen
was this insanely, I believe, on Unix.
Right, so they could in theory, speaking of the bioengineering Not just like chemical warfare but they could bio engineer people without remorse without you know, appendages that aren't necessarily needed or, or appendages that would tempt them. So or make it so
tons or make it so humans are not hermaphrodites and you can actually reproduce asexually and you don't need a mate anymore. He just divide or whatever boy,
I'm pretty sure the republicans will never let that like I said, we're gonna piss off everybody here today. So
hey, if we really want to get this off people abortion, I'm gonna bring up a portion. So you're probably wondering, how does this mix in Well, in a lot of countries and a lot of places, there's pre, there's early pregnancy testing, and some people choose to abort their pregnancies or terminate the pregnancies, whatever the PC version of that is, based on that and so you could look at this as go hey, we Prevent abortions of the that variety. If we can fix it, you know, hey, we say there's a hole in the heart. Let's fix that. We don't have to abort the fetus, right. So there is, you know, I could see people coming. Where am I going with this Can I can see people from both sides of the aisle, you took my
Damn it, I could see people on both sides arguing for and against this is what I'm saying when I say both sides it's the tip. It's the two sides in America people spoiler alert. So I'm not sure how this will come down. Do you see this going any particular way.
I think that the in womb, genetic defect repair is definitely another one of their sales tactics for this type of technology. But also to go back to your blue I read I you know, cutting that piece of paper so many times that it just shreds I could see that same technique being used for fertility like an on and off bit for fertility. Oh yeah. So you mentioned it with the vasectomy, you know, it could obviously be used for women's reproduction as well. So you basically could go in and instead of being on birth control pills get your DNA edited over a six week course or whatever it is to turn off your reproductive organs and then when you get to a point in your life where you think you're ready to settle down and have a family just go back and get it turned back on the new birth control right hey, I'm young I don't need It's the new everything control unfortunately I that gives rise
to Hey, I'm going to take my children down to the clinic turn hit the off button because they get born with it on so I'm gonna hit the off button. Hey kids, you just go be promiscuous as you want to learn about everything. Hey, we've even taken care of HIV. That's not a thing. We turn that off too. So you resistant just go for it. Man. This is getting really weird.
But I think when you like in going back to the doctor Come again or whatever that is the limited series. It's called Netflix
called unnatural selection because I don't think we've set on
natural selection. Okay, sorry, I meant to name it the first time. But you can go back to unnatural selection. This whole discussion of putting these kits are the ability for these kids to exist in a quote unquote, home lab. I mean, basically, you could start to, you know, there's the people there that were biohacking themselves, but you could most certainly biohack your kids without their consent, though.
Really. That'll be the next thing because we already have let's see, it's the HPV virus vaccine that you can give to a tweener. 12 1314 ish. And that's controversial. I mean, heck people by getting the measles vaccine controversy. So, you know, I have Yeah, I have. I have a hard time thinking that this will get very far. However. I think some of the aims of these biohackers is to make it so simple that if it's not legalized There'll be a black market of biohacking out there, kids. You're worried about marijuana worry about people getting genetically modified at this point?
No, I think that the biohacking movement is well underway. And I mean, body modifications have really transitioned into biohacking to be more permanent in nature. And it comes up and sci fi shows all the time. Oh, so I mean, it's definitely part of culture. And this technology, like I said that one article I found, I think the base regular machine that scientists uses only 10 grand for crisper, and now they've found a way to replicate it for literally pennies. So do you ever watch crime shows like the last 48 or? I try really hard not to
so I'll binge watch some of those and just think less of humanity. But a common theme during those shows is the DNA match the results? Well, guess what I do. You know, let's say you murder someone I didn't wanna say I murder someone. Let's say someone murdered somebody. And I bought one of these kippy if you're listening,
I'm sure Kevin murdered someone.
Oh, man, it's weird.
Let me finish my thought took off his game.
So, could you modify your DNA after the crime, and it suddenly no longer match? And now I am able to say, Well, I'm only an 8% match versus the 99.99% match. I didn't By the way, you're not the father. Well, Maury Povich for you.
Yeah, it's totally gonna mess up the Maury show. Um, but no, I, first of all, huge personal disclaimer here. I've never killed anyone unlike my co Hey, hey, wait, wait, wait, wait. That's not what I meant to say. I don't know from the research that I've read. So I think it's very, very realistic to say, yeah, you could tweak something in be that not 99, nine match. But I don't know how long the course is to make a genetic correction to that.
I don't either. Of course, that's during a lot of these talks. And one of the the, I don't know, she's a co founder, but she's one of the names. Her name's Jennifer Doudna.
Yeah, that actually sounds right. She was,
you know, she was on this panel. And she was very upfront and said, hey, look, we can change one gene, we can maybe change a few sequences. And then when the panelists were being asked about these black media type things, well, not yet, but she didn't rule it out. She's like in the future, maybe. But she kind of threw a dose of reality. I think on some of that. I did have another sort of use for this. Imagine your Russia, North Korea, or even maybe United States is they're known to do some door during our Let's say no let's say you had a detainee or a dissident political dissident like China, you know, if you're not part of the party, you're against the party. Could you modify he send them to a, let's just say, we'll just
go China? Okay. It if
could you modify them in a way that would mark them or alter their behavior or some sort of or even like, you know, your truth serum? Hey, turn on these jeans and they will tell a lie, you know, during the interrogation. I mean, there's so many bad things. I think they're gonna come out of this.
Oh, no doubt. No.
All right. I have a question for you, Bob. Okay, if it were safe. And if you had some sort of debilitating thing, hypothetically, would you do it to yourself or would you consult a professional who could perform so Sort of modification to you.
I think that begs such bigger questions
you're so responsible by that's such a responsible answer.
I think about this all the time, because, you know, I think you and I both do because we're parents, you know, our kids, they're unique and ourselves personally, we're unique because of who we are and in what our circumstances and how we deal with that circumstance. And just like you wouldn't want to say you're defined by fill in the blank. It's still part of who you are. Um,
I just don't know. I think I would fear the downside. Like the unknown downside. Yeah. Try to undo something that's already been done for whatever reason, or no, really so but it's done if I were to have surgery, and I've had minor surgery, but you know, I've known people have major surgeries. That's a physical manipulation of the layers above the stack, if you will of DNA, that's a higher order modification, getting your ears pierced getting a tattoo, those are all body modifications to different, you know, extense. So I could see a rash now that DNA modification is just a modification of the body at a different stage of the the diagram, if you will. And if I were dying, and there were a certain cure, and there was, I guess the chances of it working or not, or high or low, but you're saying there's a chance, you know, I might consider it
right, but that's life or death. I think that there's so many situations where in betweens, right or out of convenience,
like being paralyzed, or
Well, maybe parallel because I think parallel ization definitely contributes to a life or death situation. So there's a saying an injury
that is based on life, limb or eyesight. So I think one of those three would definitely rise the level of Hell yeah. Let's try it. However, vanity things such as I have got this freckle right here on my butt or whatever. Can you make it go away but don't use a knife but can you just make it no longer part of my genome and you know stuff like that? I don't think obviously it's worth the risk. But I'm I know people who have you know, those giant where they call it gaged earrings a man. He got frickin coffee cups saucers, his gauges, there you go, man. You go. I'm not that but you that guy would get his freckle removed off his ass.
Yeah, I wonder if that would work. I don't know. There's just so much you don't know about but he There's one thing that I wanted to make sure that I got to before too long. One of the things that freaked me out in doing this research and I don't know if you saw it, or notice it if you're doing any of the research online, but there are freaking ads. Like I'm staring at one right now. It's in the middle of one of the articles that I pulled up. It's about the the lab that found a way to basically make crisper tools for pennies. There's an ad on the page, it says stop doing crisper for yourself. Order your knockout cell lines. So there are companies that you can pay to fabricate your knockout cells for you. Because apparently that many people are doing at home. There's advertising for it. There's a
there's a market for this. Wow. Yeah, well, I wonder if this is kind of looked at by the FDA as like a supplement. This hasn't been tested. This statement has not been tested by the FDA. Good luck
but I think one of the channels Is that they talk about all the time, is that China? Or maybe it's because it's only regulated at the upper levels and not at the personal level? I don't know. But, you know, one of the arguments is, well, China's way ahead of us in this technology, because it's not as regulated as it is here. The old we gotta get ahead of them. The bad guys, right? Seems to be a very common theme.
Unknown Speaker 44:23
I just want to ponder another potential use of this. So life is very fragile. As far as we know, you need oxygen, you need water. You need you know, place here or you need a space suit. Imagine going to Mars without a space suit. We can genetically modify our astronauts to breathe a very thin atmosphere or we could genetically modify them to breathe methane on one of the moons of Jupiter or Saturn. Of course, there's other problems like pressure suits. I get that don't don't that me but man In, we can modify, you know, humans to travel through the cosmos.
But all that would require an extreme amount of experimentation, which is the problem right now,
like takes me relax. All right click the aliens.
What? What? Why? So they're aliens. Okay, so imagine aliens have already had this problem. They want to go visit Earth, but we can't get there because of these biological issues. So what if they've evolved to the point where they now can do their own DNA splicing and editing and they've modified their bodies so that they got big, black guys and their small bodies and they're gray and they're very smart, and they can travel across the cosmos? Maybe maybe aliens already doing this Bob? What do you think?
I'm going to guess they probably have better genetic code to start out with. That's what I'm going to guess. All right, so they live in a society where the genetic modification of their organism is an accepted norm. And they bioengineer themselves to suit whatever Next, you know, Global Mission they have.
All right, so we've always heard of things like intelligent design versus evolution, right, tell Joe is gonna piss off everyone. Right? So, so intelligent design is basically the idea that humans started out as humans, they did not evolve to humans were evolutions. Basically. We started it in a petri dish, you know, a little swamp and then eventually became humans over millennia. So what if humans were actually designed by a And I keep bringing this back. I'm sounding really like tinfoil hat. I apologize to everyone. But what if humans were dropped here as an experiment, or monkeys, or apes or chimps, if you will, we're here. And then they're like, hey, let's take our own DNA and take these bipedal organisms with arms, and let's combine it with our own DNA and just leave them here. And we're some lab experiment that they're checking in on us every now and then.
Well, I think that's a definitely a common argument for a lot of technological advance. It's either the simulation argument or that, you know, we're the experiment of an alien race. But I don't know if that addresses or solves just because can does that mean we should kind of I think, which is the original premise of you know why we're talking about this, right?
Right. Oh, for sure. Because for me, this sounds like a James Bond. Movie plot at this point where you got the evil you know, the the antagonist is totally like building this genetically enhanced army or building a bio weapon, or God knows what the thing is, is I think this crisper thing is flirting with the hubris of humanity. And I think it's this innate thing that we have, especially as parents that we want to create life and you know, programmers want to create artificial intelligence, and you got the whole gamut of things. And it always comes back to what you said which is just because we can should we and I am on the fence at this point because I can see the potential good for it but I am right now the bad luck so overwhelming. How do you feel about it?
Well, I think the bad looks so unknown, which makes it overwhelming, but I'm also super intrigued that I didn't think of this and you brought it up with the the AI the machine learning And then we can even tie this back to bad bias to, I can see it going toward analysis of data, ai determining what the perfect gene sequence looks like. And then the system of splice is done with crisper to get some one person to that point. And, you know, depending on the garbage that goes into that, ai analysis, the output could be terrible. Yeah,
we can end up with nothing but zombies, a bio weapon that just inadvertently kills everyone. Or we could end up with a great future. But the thing is, it's like, it's like counter terrorism, you have to account for the 99 things that they can do to hurt you and they only have to be successful once, right? So I look at this as going for the one thing or the few things that it looks like it could be good for. I also see that Listen, the downside of this and that I don't know if it really scares me yet because it's it's more academic papers and there's a couple cases out there at this point. But as they mentioned in one documentary in the 70s, they had okay computers, but they knew they would have better computers one day. Well, right. I think the same thing applies here. They have pretty okay technology with gene editing. Now, we know in the future, it'll probably only get better.
Unknown Speaker 50:33
What do we forget?
Well, I think it'd probably be a little bit remiss to not mention that I think we're both in agreement here that regardless of the outcome, I think the the technology itself, in the research that's, you know, been put into this, this problem that needs to be solved, apparently of, you know, splicing genes in figuring out that you could use a Protein x is a virus to basically do the work. It's pretty impressive. I mean, it's a very impressive Oh,
Unknown Speaker 51:07
it like who who thinks of this shit.
I was reading some of the Wikipedia articles and trying to make sense of it. And I just said, I'm glad I'm a programmer. I'm not a biologist, because I don't know what's going on here.
It feels like it crosses over into programming a little bit, though, with the, you know, the sequence and the wirings. And the knowing how do I like developing a technique for identification of the bad sequence, and then the replacement or the reorganization or removal of that sequence? It's just crazy.
Yeah, it's kind of like the chemical version of Find and Replace.
like you said, and that's and and for non programmers, programmers out there. regex is stands for regular expressions, and there's nothing regular about them. It's just a fancy way of pattern matching.
No way. You could totally find the pattern in anything. So
I'm going to watch more of unnatural selection on Netflix because it's a little short series I haven't made it through all the way there's some good videos on YouTube regarding crisper and whatnot. I've probably pissed off science people can conservationist religious types, but I just wanted to do a kind of throw out there all the angles and definitely got in some chops for aliens are probably
probably not putting that in the title but hey, and for anyone that's still listening, if you've got thoughts on this, interestingly, we got well Kevin because of course he puts all of his good tweets on his own Twitter account. Got some pretty good engagement on talking about that we were going to be talking about this on the show today. So if you did listen, obviously we gave this a 30,000 foot cuz Hey, we're not biologist be we're not scientists, but it's a technology topic that I think is There's gonna be more and more
Unknown Speaker 53:02
brought to the forefront as these days tick by so let us know what you think on it, for sure.
All right, Bob, I think we're good to go. This is good, good, good stuff. I'm sure we'll have more to follow as the technology develops
Unknown Speaker 53:17
and or as zombies approach my front door.
Just Just remember kids don't give your DNA to any of the online stores for DNA and maybe don't modify it with it at home crisper kit.
Unknown Speaker 53:33
Yeah, just say no kids.
Unknown Speaker 53:38
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Unknown Speaker 54:00
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Unknown Speaker 54:03
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai