Modern Biohacker Is Enabling Anyone To Experiment With Their DNA

Modern Biohacker Is Enabling Anyone To Experiment With Their DNA
Design

Biohacker Josiah Zayner wants to build a future where humans can modify their own genetics structure

Zack Palm
  • 26 october 2017

Technology continues to expand and build upon the idea that science-fiction can no longer be classified as purely ‘fiction’. During the SynBioBeta conference in San Francisco, biohacker Josiah Zayner inserted himself with a syringe full of DNA he made in order to give himself bigger muscles. Within a short period of time, this DNA sequence, in theory, should modify Zayner’s unique internal structure to expand his muscle growth. As this type of experimentation remains extremely questionable, Zayner does not want ordinary citizens to experiment on themselves, however, wants to encourage them to customize the DNA of simpler biological forms through DIY CRISPR DNA kits. Some day, Zayner hopes everyone will have the opportunity to make a simple decision about their physical appearance and have the chance to change it with a quick injection.

The DNA changing syringe Zayner used on stage, along with smaller samples of the same variety he later handed out to audience members, was created in his garage and only took him five minutes. This self-proclaimed biohacker attained a PhD in molecular biology and biophysics, and previously worked at NASA, but left the space program to explore untouched avenues of science. He started and successfully launched a crowdfunding project in 2015 called Cluster Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) for anyone interested in modifying DNA of bacteria or yeast. Those who donated enough to the crowdfunding project received a DIY experiment kit where they were given detailed instructions and videos about how they could experiment to rework the DNA of their project.

Zayner_Wants_Everyone_To_Have_The_Chance_To_Modify_Their_DNA.jpg

Though the CRISPR DIY kits focused on much smaller biological items, Zayner wants to expand the process to alter a person’s DNA. This could prove tricky as the experiments going on in Zayner’s garage do not include the numerous steps of safety protocols a certified laboratory entails, along with the high-end technology involved to truly know a person’s DNA sequence changes. For example, Zayner’s injection may have modified his DNA to expand his muscle growth but not enough cells could have triggered in the reaction. This complicates the process and would have unforeseeable consequences. This doesn’t deter the biohacker in the slightest about the future of DNA modifying.

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Zayner imagines the process in the future looking like a developer building a website. The developer, in this case the person, will get to choose what parts they like about their set-up and what parts they don’t. However, in this future, Zayner believes the person reshaping themselves does not need to understand the rougher details of how the injection was made. He wants those interested in modifying themselves to simply know what they want to do, and have a wide enough market available to make it happen without any complications.

For now, the United States have not issued a ban on biohacking allowing Zayner to continue with his experimental research. This may not last much longer.

SynBioBeta

Technology continues to expand and build upon the idea that science-fiction can no longer be classified as purely ‘fiction’. During the SynBioBeta conference in San Francisco, biohacker Josiah Zayner inserted himself with a syringe full of DNA he made in order to give himself bigger muscles. Within a short period of time, this DNA sequence, in theory, should modify Zayner’s unique internal structure to expand his muscle growth. As this type of experimentation remains extremely questionable, Zayner does not want ordinary citizens to experiment on themselves, however, wants to encourage them to customize the DNA of simpler biological forms through DIY CRISPR DNA kits. Some day, Zayner hopes everyone will have the opportunity to make a simple decision about their physical appearance and have the chance to change it with a quick injection.

+DNA
+genetics
+Health
+Market Research
+technology
+USA

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