CRISPR CRACKS AND EPIGENETICS

If you've been following the GMO issue, or for that matter, the whole wider issue of genetic engineering and "editing", then you'll be interested by the latest studies of problems emerging with CRISPR, the revolutionary genetic technology that was touted as being able to edit specific genes with precision, rather than the "shotgun" approach that obtained formerly. In fact, so many people sent me various versions of this story that I began to wonder what they were seeing in it. I've selected two versions of the story (the Science Alert article shared by Mr. Bernard Grover):

Potential DNA damage from CRISPR has been ‘seriously underestimated,’ study finds

(Meletios Verras/iStock) BREAKING: CRISPR Could Be Causing Extensive Mutations And Genetic Damage After All

There's a statement in the first article that caught my attention, and it is this:

The DNA damage found in the new study included deletions of thousands of DNA bases, including at spots far from the edit. Some of the deletions can silence genes that should be active and activate genes that should be silent, including cancer-causing genes.

The DNA chaos that CRISPR unleashes has been “seriously underestimated,” said geneticist Allan Bradley of England’s Wellcome Sanger Institute, who led the study. “This should be a wake-up call.”

...

The Sanger scientists didn’t set out to find collateral DNA damage from CRISPR. As they investigated how CRISPR might change gene expression, a “weird thing” showed up, Bradley said: The target DNA was accurately changed, but that set off a chain reaction that engulfed genes far from the target. The scientists therefore changed course. (Emphasis added)

The reason that italicized statement caught my eye was that it suggests the presence of epigenetic factors. Briefly and simplistically put, epigenetics is the idea that genetics - this particular or that particular gene - are not the sole determiners of the development or genetic tendencies of an organism. There's another "wholistic" factor beyond the genes themselves (hence, "epi-genetic" or "beyond genetics") that is somehow also affected. It's a bit like saying that the engine in an automobile works as a whole, and that one cannot tinker with the carburetor without messing up the whole engine; a Ford carburetor probably won't work as well in a Chevy engine, and vice versa. We'll get back to this epigenetic problem in a moment.

Then there was this in the second article from Science Alert:

In the worst-case scenario, if such mangled edits were introduced into humans in a CRISPR/Cas9 treatment, important genes might end up being switched on or off, which could make for potentially serious health consequences.

"In the clinical context of editing many billions of cells, the multitude of different mutations generated makes it likely that one or more edited cells in each protocol would be endowed with an important pathogenic lesion," the authors write.

"Such lesions may constitute a first carcinogenic 'hit' in stem cells and progenitors, which have a long replicative lifespan and may become neoplastic [promoting abnormal growths] with time."

If such unforeseen side effects can indeed be introduced by using CRISPR/Cas9 to snip at the genome, the researchers say it's imperative for future clinical applications to address the risks.

Now, imagine the intergenerational effect of such edits, over not one or two, but three or more generations, and that when the full effect of epigenetic influences is not well understood, and one has a recipe for a potential disaster. What works today may, generations down the line, actually have a reverse effect.

When CRISPR came out, there was a great deal of fanfare, and some of that fanfare was coming from the GMO argibusiness sector, a sector which, as I've pointed out many times, did not do adequate intergenerational testing in my opinion, a fact highlighted by the Russian government in its own banning of GMOs and its call for genuine intergnerational studies.  Now imagine all those "unintended edits" as a consequence of CRISPR getting out into the food supply, thanks to the corporate-controlled regulatory agencies that rubber-stamped GMOs in the first place, and you get the idea... Of course, it is equally possible that what scientists have found may eventually lead to a cure for cancer. But that's the point: let's do some genuinely long term studies before releasing too much of this into the public, because once it's out, there's no turning it back. One might even envision a time when "full disclosure" before marriage might include the requirement to state whether or not one partner has ever undergone any genetic therapy.

See you on the flip side..

10 thoughts on “CRISPR CRACKS AND EPIGENETICS”

  1. . . . When one is changing the construction of genes, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), an astonishingly long double-stranded helical chain of sugar stuff that makes some of the wonders of the local biosphere, and ((don’t you dare call it junk DNA because some quack with a degree thought they’d be clever and witty with their arrogance with a repetition they still can’t explain) (oh, very well, I’ll lighten up a bit)) or witnessing a dream come true for the typical molecular biologist with a sizeable grant, one has to wonder whether two dimensional thinking translates properly into a three dimensional spatial representation. . . There are energy levels, field effects, physical effects of the construct, and other influences sometimes not mentioned because of ignorance as well as secrecy or a lack of an appropriate lexicon to discuss this process of deliberate laboratory change. . . One would think, with thousands of languages still available now from the species homo-sapiens-sapiens, that there would be some clarity. . .

    This business of Clustered Regularly-Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR), might just as easily be making it easier to make DNA strands that have been already filtered out through a natural process and possibly through an immune system adaptation. . . Talk about a ridiculously long name for trying to be correct about something that’s little more than biological two-way bridge making. . .

    . . . Watson (James Dewey Watson) and Crick (Harry Compton), began with what they had thought was the double-helix chain, backwards, until Rosalind Franklin corrected them both by righting that short sightedness and misperception of that famous x-ray crystallographic view. . . It might just be that that two-way bridge of CRISPR needs an effective bio-boulevard that better directs chemical traffic. . . Sure hope those technicians know how to spot danger they have yet to identify. . . Most of anyone familiar with this biochemistry of kind could use a course on that specialty. . . There are indicators that the science is not there yet. . .

  2. Robert Barricklow

    But now we have come a great long way and now
    The time has come to unyoke our steaming horses.
    – Virgil

  3. Yep, we have the “law of unintentional consequences” in play. But, let’s look deeper into the past:

    Intriguingly, Sumerian cuneiform tablets document a similar ‘problem’. Viewed within a modern biological framework, Enki and Ninharsag had a quandary: they had promised Enlil & Co. a worker/slave race (to lighten the ‘god’s’ burden). However, their genetic work had hit a big snag…

    As documented, their altering one set of genes (CRISPR-ing?) produced wild variations, from non-viable embryos to mutated shapes in adults. Their records state that they had a helluva time in producing their ‘preferred’ offspring. Disaster after disaster. It was only when they used Anunnaki ‘foster mothers’ to incubate the altered fetuses that they had success. What if, a mother’s amnionic fluid provided ‘stabilizing’ secretions (epi-epigenetics?) for epigenetic factors that were now wrong or no longer existed in that embryo?

    So, even with CRISPR-like technologies, Enki and Ninharsag were nearly stumped by the knock-on effects of messing with DNA. Were we seeing a Cliff’s Notes of what is going wrong Now?

    1. (On the “hmm” side, there are reports in the more alt-media of present-day women being used in much the same way by Greys and such. A woman goes through what seems like a pregnancy-cycle, and then the late-stage embryo just vanishes. No stillbirth. Later, some women are ‘shown’ a hybrid that a Grey claims is “hers.” No similarity there…)

  4. marcos toledo

    There is the possibility this is what they were looking for this has been a militarised society for some time. What better cover for weapons research than looking for cures when in fact your really looking for new weapons to torture and kill future victims of their aggression.

  5. It’s difficult to see what you’re not looking for, or have been instructed to ignore, in Monstersanto’s case. As far as “science” goes, genetics is still in its infancy. It is idiotic to believe, at this point, that anyone would ever consider it “settled science” with any maturity/reliability. This is a perfect example of profit over unintended side effects of which several industries are guilty.
    Rushing technology such as this into the mainstream can only cause misery for those who are victim to it and their progeny. This should be well understood by corporations/
    scientists of good moral character. Therein lies the problem, profit is the only motive considered, everything else be damned.

  6. Some of this research sounds like a fancy version of the old Rockefeller “snake oil”. But unlike say 120 years ago there is more widespread information and awareness.

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