Gene Editing Rising, Pet Dinosaurs Impending?

The Bridge: Scientific advancements in genetic engineering are making gene editing and reproduction more accessible. How will this impact the world Gen-Z is maturing into?

Un-unaliving the Thylacine

Have you ever heard of a Tasmanian tiger? Neither have we, because it’s been extinct since 1936. However, de-extinction scientists and wildlife conservationists in Australia are working to bring back this lost species, and others. It’s like Weird Science, but with marsupials!

The tiger, also known as a Thylacine, is native to Australia, and scientists believe reintroducing it into the environment would have positive ecological benefits. So…how are they gonna do it?

Good question.

The science around reanimating an extinct species from just DNA is way above our pay grade, but what we can tell you is that it involves frankensteining living marsupial stem cells with CRISPR, a next-generation gene editing technology (more on this in a bit).

It’s a bit too Jurassic Park if you ask us, especially considering Chris Hemsworth, of the movie franchise, is an investor. As far as the science community is concerned, questions surrounding the necessity of this project are beginning to stick. Will these test-tube Tasmanian tigers (say that a few times) know how to behave in the wild? Could the $5 million investment in this project be better used towards the conservation of endangered, but alive, species and environments? Time will tell.

Copy, Paste, or Delete?

While we wait for the zombie Thylacine apocalypse, we can’t help but wonder how these scientific advancements will change the world that Gen-Z is growing up in, specifically with the help of CRISPR. We’ve even seen the trend of saving stem-cells for gene-editing increase between Gen-Z and Gen Alpha parents.

The same gene-editing technology being used to create embryos has also been able to reverse the deadly effects of genetic disorders like sickle cell anemia, giving hope to many parents of chronically ill children. This gene-treatment could reverse the effects of delayed development, undo paralysis, and restore memory – it’s even been projected to eliminate autism, but advancements like this come with a steep cost.

Unfortunately, extinct tiger DNA isn’t the only thing that’s being experimented with. Because of the projected benefits of CRISPR, major ethics violations have occurred against human beings. Most notably, the 2018 scandal surrounding “CRISPR babies”, where a scientist implanted genetically altered, HIV-resistant embryos into women.

For all we know, he may have made the X-Men.

The scientist in this example was sentenced to 3 years in prison, not for his intentions, but for slipping through the cracks of a system that hadn’t caught up to regulating a new technology.

Gen-Z is growing up in a world where they’ll have the agency and access to participate in these gene therapies, effectively changing their entire lives. Also, if the tiger project is successful, resurrecting long-extinct animals could introduce them to wildlife and ecosystems that haven’t been seen for entire lifetimes.

As for the medical freedoms coming to the most autonomous and accountable generation, we can’t help but wonder how they’ll look back at these early experiments (and shady ethical practices) while simultaneously benefiting from them.

Is it getting a little Sci-fi? Definitely.

Are we excited for them? Absolutely.

Related Posts

McDonalds is expanding beyond toys in happy meals, and has created what will most likely go down as the worst chair in history. The “McCrispy Ultimate Gaming Chair” is the newest release from the golden arches, and comes with a host of food-holding accessories. Why? So gamers can eat more McDonalds while playing their games, of course! Read onto “What the” to learn all about it. 
Did you know most people spend around seven hours a day on their devices? Whether it’s a phone, a computer, or a TV, “screen” technology has become a major part of our day-to-day lives. Now what if we told you that this would lead to your great-great-grandchildren having hunchbacks, clawed hands, and a second eyelid…for the screen-brightness, of course. A depiction of this “future human” has gone viral on social media, and while it is rather unsettling (it’s horrifying), it’s raising awareness to the very real damage we do to our bodies while enjoying our modern lives. 
The future of relationships is looking mighty strange, folks. About a decade ago, it was a little funny to hear that a couple had met online and were going strong. “How are you supposed to make genuine connections through the internet?” was a common enough question. Then online dating and matchmaking became deliberate, and apps like Tinder and Plenty Of Fish took off. According to statistics, almost 40% of couples today met digitally. So what will the future hold? There’s a new trend emerging in the world of URL-to-IRL romance – one where the partner isn’t a real person at all. Does this signal the rise of one-sided relationships? Or will the trend collapse and be nothing more than an internet historical footnote? One thing is clear: the traditional guidelines for dating are becoming more blurred than ever.

The Single BEST (and FREE!) Newsletter You'll Read All Week 🔥🦄