More on CRISPR, “the most important invention”

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•Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.
•Any monetarily NON-sovereign government — be it city, county, state or nation — that runs an ongoing trade deficit, eventually will run out of money.
•The more federal budgets are cut and taxes increased, the weaker an economy becomes..

Liberals think the purpose of government is to protect the poor and powerless from the rich and powerful. Conservatives think the purpose of government is to protect the rich and powerful from the poor and powerless.

•The single most important problem in economics is the Gap between rich and the rest..
•Austerity is the government’s method for widening
the Gap between rich and poor.
•Until the 99% understand the need for federal deficits, the upper 1% will rule.
•Everything in economics devolves to motive, and the motive is the Gap between the rich and the rest..

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In the previous post, we discussed CRISPR-Cas9 (pronounced: crisper) and described it as the most important invention since the Internet. That well may be an understatement.

CRISPR will change the future of all mankind.

In reality, CRISPR actually was invented by nature — specifically, by bacteria — as a defense against viruses. CRISPR allows certain bacteria to slice up virus DNA to make the virus harmless.

CRISPR provides a very fast, very easy method for editing nearly any gene in any living organism. It can disable a gene, repair a gene or substitute one gene for another.

Here are some of its potential uses:

Breakthrough gene editor sparks ethics debate

Many people hope doctors will soon find a way to use the gene editor to fix mutations that cause genetic diseases, a boon for gene therapy.

Almost immediately after the technology debuted, scientists turned to CRISPR to genetically engineer organisms in the lab, including rhesus macaques, mice, zebrafish, fruit flies, yeast and some plants.

In October, researchers reported setting a record for the most genes edited at once (SN: 11/14/15, p. 6). That record — 62 genes — removed viruses embedded in pig DNA to make pig organs safer for human transplants.

Chinese researchers announced the same month that they had successfully edited dogs with CRISPR, producing a female beagle with a mutation that resulted in more muscular thighs than her unedited littermates.

CRISPR has an application to gene drives — engineered genes designed to break typical inheritance rules and get passed to nearly all of a carrier’s offspring.

In late November and early December, two teams reported the creation of gene drives that could help eradicate malaria.

Great promise comes with these developments, but there are also fears that gene drive–altered organisms could escape the lab and infect wild animals or could run amok in other ways.

Prevent and cure genetic diseases, facilitate animal-to-human transplants (assuring an unlimited supply), improve human and animal muscularity, eliminate mosquito-borne diseases — and that’s just for starters.

Not all bodies act their age

People grow old at vastly different rates.

A study, out of Duke University, analyzed the health of nearly one thousand 38-year-olds and found that some resembled people a decade older while others appeared years younger.

The finding tapped into a mystery that has long captivated scientists and the public alike — “why some people can live to 120 with no disease, and others are already in bad shape at age 70,” says molecular biologist Martin Hetzer of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif.

Molecular mayhem within cells may lie at the root of aging. Populations of proteins in the brains and livers of rats appear to become damaged over time.

In healthy young people, long stretches of DNA pack tightly together in neat bundles called heterochromatin. These bundles aren’t packaged quite so well in old people.

The molecular events identified this year add to previously discovered signs of aging — the shortening of telomeres, the protective caps on chromosomes, for example, and damage to mitochondria, the energy factories of cells.

Damaged proteins, packaging of DNA, shortened telomeres — these all might be addressed via CRISPR.

And then there’s cancer:

These animals don’t get cancer, and scientists think they could hold a cure

The root cause of cancer is a chance mutation in a group of cells, which is why it’s puzzling that elephants get cancer so rarely – they have 100 times the number of cells us humans do, yet on average only 1 in 20 elephants develop the disease compared to 1 in 5 people.

A team of researchers in the US looked closer, and found an abundance of a gene called TP53. This gene is known for its ability to repair damaged DNA and thus halt the spread of cancer, and it’s some 20 times more common in elephants than it is in human beings. It appears elephants have developed more of these genes as they’ve evolved, in part to protect calves born to older mothers.

Naked mole rats are even more miraculous – they never develop cancer, even when scientists try and induce it artificially. The mechanism involves a polymer called hyaluronan.

Eradicating this polymer in naked mole rats allows cancers to spread as they normally would – which in turn suggests that hyaluronan could be crucial in keeping the disease at bay. The underground creatures have around five times the level of hyaluronan as humans do.

CRISPR could help modify human DNA to produce more hyaluronan. Goodby cancer.

Many animals live much longer than do we humans. Some marine animals live 500+ years.

If we can discover which stretches of DNA account for any species’ longer life, we may be able to duplicate and implant those DNA stretches in humans, allowing us to live 200 years, 500 years, or even more.

Warming continues apace — “hiatus” didn’t exist

A supposed pause in global warming that has been fodder for climate change doubters never really existed.

In June, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that they had finally found the cause of the hiatus, and it wasn’t shifting winds or pint-size volcanic eruptions as some scientists proposed. Instead, small biases and gaps in temperature data had created an artificial plateau.

“What we’re doing right now to the climate is unprecedented,” says Richard Zeebe, a paleoclimatologist at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Scientists now predict that the Arctic Ocean will have its first ice-free summer sometime around 2052, almost a decade sooner than previously projected. The rapid warming in the Arctic may also cause more deadly heat waves across the Northern Hemisphere.

What does CRISPR have to do with climate change? Here’s what:

Climate Change, Threats and Impacts

Rising temperatures and changing patterns of rain and snow are forcing trees and plants around the world to move toward polar regions and up mountain slopes.

As plant communities try to adjust to the changing climate by moving toward cooler areas, the animals that depend on them will be forced to move. Development and other barriers may block the migration of both plants and animals.

In the tropics, increased sea temperatures are causing more coral reefs to “bleach,” as the heat kills colorful algae that are necessary to coral health and survival.

As temperatures rise globally, droughts will become more frequent and more severe, with potentially devastating consequences for agriculture, water supply and human health.

Many plants and animals are genetically suited to warmer, drier (or wetter) conditions.

Consider the probability the CRISPER technique will allow us to implant appropriate genes into affected animals and plants: Grasses, trees, algae, etc. that will allow them to flourish under future climate conditions.

“Cool weather” animals and plants wouldn’t need to migrate to cooler climes.

We may even be able to slow or ward off climate change by increasing the CO2 depletion ability of algae, trees, grasses and other plants.

Man, the explorer, continuously yearns to “go where no man has gone before,” and the greatest untracked territory is outer space. Only the moon has felt man’s step. But to put it modestly:

Interstellar Space travel is really difficult!

Our travellers will have to spend their entire journey floating about in the weightlessness of space. This likely has adverse health effects over time.

Our travellers would need (to carry) enough food (and water).

The psychological stresses of living in space for (many years) are immense and possibly insurmountable.

There are other problems, too. Space is big. Travelling beyond our solar system would require more than a lifetime.

And then there is deadly radiation. Space is filled with it. Adequate shielding would be heavy and that extra weight would compromise the trip.

Some animals hibernate. Their need for food and water and oxygen is reduced.

Some part of their DNA allows them to hibernate, and if that part could be included in human DNA, we could hibernate too. Our need for food, water and oxygen during a space trip, would be reduced, and the problem of boredom eliminated.

In a state of hibernation, humans might live long enough to travel to the stars.

The DNA of certain extremophiles, such as the bacteria Deinococcus radiodurans and tardigrades allows them to withstand acute doses of ionizing radiation. There is strong evidence that radioresistance can be genetically determined and inherited. the proper DNA, humans might be able to withstand space radiation.

Finally, there is the effect of zero gravity on the body. Human muscles and bones weaken. Fish live in a low perceived gravity environment. It might be possible that human DNA can be adjusted so that low or absent gravity does not weaken muscles and bones.

While transplanting electric eel DNA to humans may not help us save on our electric bills, that may be one of the few things CRISPR technology doesn’t do. CRISPR technology might even help us to become smarter, so we would be better able to use the technology — in a rising helix of accomplishment.

We are entering the CRISPR Age, folks.

To paraphrase: “CRISPER, one minuscule step for a gene, one giant step for mankind.”

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

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Ten Steps to Prosperity:
1. Eliminate FICA (Click here)
2. Federally funded Medicare — parts A, B & D plus long term nursing care — for everyone (Click here)
3. Provide an Economic Bonus to every man, woman and child in America, and/or every state a per capita Economic Bonus. (Click here) Or institute a reverse income tax.
4. Free education (including post-grad) for everyone. Click here
5. Salary for attending school (Click here)
6. Eliminate corporate taxes (Click here)
7. Increase the standard income tax deduction annually Click here
8. Tax the very rich (.1%) more, with higher, progressive tax rates on all forms of income. (Click here)
9. Federal ownership of all banks (Click here and here)

10. Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99% (Click here)

The Ten Steps will add dollars to the economy, stimulate the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and the rest.
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10 Steps to Economic Misery: (Click here:)
1. Maintain or increase the FICA tax..
2. Spread the myth Social Security, Medicare and the U.S. government are insolvent.
3. Cut federal employment in the military, post office, other federal agencies.
4. Broaden the income tax base so more lower income people will pay.
5. Cut financial assistance to the states.
6. Spread the myth federal taxes pay for federal spending.
7. Allow banks to trade for their own accounts; save them when their investments go sour.
8. Never prosecute any banker for criminal activity.
9. Nominate arch conservatives to the Supreme Court.
10. Reduce the federal deficit and debt

No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth. Monetary Sovereignty: Cutting federal deficits to grow the economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia.
1. A growing economy requires a growing supply of dollars (GDP=Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports)
2. All deficit spending grows the supply of dollars
3. The limit to federal deficit spending is an inflation that cannot be cured with interest rate control.
4. The limit to non-federal deficit spending is the ability to borrow.

THE RECESSION CLOCK

Recessions begin an average of 2 years after the blue line first dips below zero. There was a dip in 2015. Recessions are cured by a rising red line.

Monetary Sovereignty

Vertical gray bars mark recessions.

As the federal deficit growth lines drop, we approach recession, which will be cured only when the growth lines rise. Increasing federal deficit growth (aka “stimulus”) is necessary for long-term economic growth.

#MONETARYSOVEREIGNTY

2 thoughts on “More on CRISPR, “the most important invention”

  1. The claims seem rather utopian…

    [1] A means to eradicate contagious diseases (for example malaria, which kills half a million people each year)

    [2] A cure for cancer (which kills 7.6 million people per year)

    [3] A cure for genetic maladies and deformities

    [4] A means to make animal organs safer for human transplants.

    [5] A means improve human and animal health and muscularity

    [6] A means to dramatically extend human and animal lifespans

    [7] A means to help plant life adapt to changing climate conditions

    [8] A means to facilitate long voyages in outer space by developing (a) human resistance to cosmic rays, (b) a human capacity for bodily hibernation, and (c) a human ability to physically cope with zero-g environments.

    Utopian? Why call it utopian? Aren’t we are simply talking about a new way to edit DNA with unprecedented ease, precision, and safety? Yes, but DNA molecules are like a Rubik’s cube. Change one gene, and you cause unintended and undesirable changes in other genes. This is unavoidable (so far).

    Moreover, inheritable gene editing cannot be applied to common diseases like cancer or diabetes, whose hereditary component is caused by many different genes.

    On the other hand, some problems are caused by a single gene. If a parent has two copies of the Huntington’s gene, then editing the human germline may be the only way to ensure that a child will not have Huntington’s disease, which is incurable.

    There are myriad risks and downsides to this technology, as there are with every scientific breakthrough, no matter how well-intentioned. Proper science must walk a tightrope between caution on one side, and over-caution on the other. On 3 Dec 2015 an international group of scientists in Washington called for a moratorium on making inheritable changes to the human genome until the risks could be better assessed, and until there was “broad societal consensus about the appropriateness” of any proposed change.

    This sounds reasonable, but it can lead to endless debates about whether we should stay in our cesspool, or claw our way to the surface to peek at what’s outside.

    Yes there are risks to genome editing. There are always risks in science. We’re not talking about conventional gene therapy, which alters the body’s ordinary tissues. We are talking about changing human DNA at the level of egg and sperm. But, as always, the bigger the risks, the bigger the potential rewards, yes? I say let’s gamble, albeit prudently. Besides, risks can be reduced as techniques are refined.

    My own fantasy is that we might someday engineer ourselves to be more empathetic to one another. Then we could go to the stars, or do whatever else we liked…together. I don’t mean reducing us to insect drones with a hive mind. I mean striking a balance between selfishness and altruism. There is too much selfishness in the world, with the result that most people are already insect drones with a hive mind (e.g. Tea Party morons).

    CRISPR-Cas9 is in the realm of science. The problem with science is that there is not enough of it. Instead, human society has too much superstition, faith-based ideology, and emotional immaturity. Collectively we are still Neanderthals. If economics, for example, were truly scientific, then it would inevitably support the facts of Monetary Sovereignty. Certainly no one could claim that austerity brings prosperity for average people.

    Rodger says that CRISPR-Cas9 is “the most important invention since the Internet.” Is he correct? Maybe. CRISPR-Cas9 is very new. The Internet was around for almost forty years before we had the World Wide Web. So we’ll have to wait and see.

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  2. Exciting stuff. I had not seen this before.

    Most neuro-degenerative disease is caused by proteins not folding correctly and it is not yet understood how genes might be adjusted to slow, stop, or reverse it, although if it could act like stem cells, then there is no limit. The misfolding spreads to other cells in at least Parkinson’s like prions through axons and the synapses, beginning in the gut and nose. Also, cancer is not stopped by fixing the nucleic DNA unless it is specifically a genetic cause or cure: you can usually transplant a healthy nucleus into an “infected” cell, and the cancer will still spread.

    CO2 has nearly doubled, and many plants are now growing faster. Some modifications might allow many to grow twice as fast.

    We will implement our brains and bodies into durable hardware of unlimited lifespan before we travel to the stars with biological bodies.

    The center of the galaxy is only 20 years anyway if you accelerate at 1 g for half the trip and decelerate at 1 g for the other half (length-contraction, see Sagan’s calculations back in the 1970’s), so bone density is not important. Rotating wheel design to keep 1 g while staying in place. Earth will be 30,000 years older, but I do not see why that would be relevant to a someone who’s keen on travelling.

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