Ethical Questions Loom Over Efforts to Make a Human Genome from Scratch

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Sabre
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Ethical Questions Loom Over Efforts to Make a Human Genome from Scratch

Post by Sabre » Tue May 31, 2016 4:36 pm

Tech Review
The biggest beneficiary of a plan to fabricate a human genome from scratch could be a Massachusetts startup called Gen9 that has close ties to the authors of the still-secretive proposal.

Two weeks ago, more than 130 scientists, ethicists, and government funding officials met behind closed doors at Harvard University to discuss a follow-up to the Human Genome Project—one that would write a genome rather than read it. The event, named HGP Write, was meant to rally interest around the idea of synthesizing all six billion DNA letters of a human genome and using the results to “boot up” a cell.

That grand goal will require new technology as well as lots and lots of DNA. “We are going to be one of the companies that is going to make this possible,” says Kevin Munnelly, the CEO of Gen9, which was started in 2009 to manufacture DNA strands and whose founders include George Church, the visionary Harvard Medical School geneticist at the center of the genome-writing plans. “I don’t think anyone can make as much DNA as we can with six technicians in 15,000 square feet.” Constructing a human genome, analysts say, would take three times the number of man-made genes currently produced globally each year and require at least $90 million worth of DNA.

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Thanks in part to innovations at Gen9, very large-scale DNA fabrication is getting closer. In 2001, it cost $12 for each extra pair of DNA letters chemically strung onto a gene in a lab. But prices have dropped steadily. In March, Gen9 began offering prices as low as just three cents a pair.
If anyone believes that this isn't going to 1.) Change the world 2.) Cause MAJOR ethics issues 3.) Used for good and bad, they are fooling themselves.
Sabre (Julian)
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Good choice putting $4,000 rims on your 1990 Honda Civic. That's like Betty White going out and getting her tits done.

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