Genetic modification: catalyst for change

genetic_engineering_gm_encyclopaediaWith Jurassic World still fresh in many people’s minds, a new startup is showing us that the world may not be as far away from being able to create and build its own real-life dinosaurs as it may think.

Founded in 2011, Cambrian Genomics is a three-dimensional DNA printing company that has recently received 10 million dollars in donations to further its research and development. They are planning on using every penny of it to build new DNA.

While we still are a ways from building a high-tech zoo on a remote island, the impressive achievements Cambrian has made cannot be ignored.

With the creation of a rose plant that glows in the dark already under his belt, Austen Heinz, founder and CEO of Cambrian Genomics, has much bigger plans for his company.

“We want to make totally new organisms that have never existed,” Heinz said in a video of a conference last year in Vienna.

While currently using his laser printing technology to custom create DNA for pharmaceutical companies.

Heinz’s ultimate goal is to have the technology reach the point where anyone can go on their computer and print a new life-form from scratch.

In fact, Heinz’s laser printing technology has been a major improvement in the field and is able to print DNA quicker, more accurately, and much cheaper than before.

This type of technology is not completely new in the world of science, but Heinz stands out as one of the few scientists willing to push the boundaries of reality so close to what was previously thought to be only science fiction.

Heinz is firm in his ideology that most all problems can be solved by engineering, and seems to see little to no possible repercussions from the technology. Moreover, it is Heinz’s wish that the government be completely uninvolved in the process.

There are those who do not share Heinz’s view on the subject, however.

“With new advancing technology and what they are able to do with genetic fingerprinting opens up the possibility of curing known diseases; however, without some sort of control and regulation it could be used unethically,” resident science teacher Christina Walker said.

Many are concerned that, whether because of negligence and inexperience or because of bad intentions, this kind of technology is too risky and that there are too many dangerous applications.

Biology teacher Maria Forero pointed out that a change made in an organism’s genome, especially if the change is in a sex cell, would continue to appear in the DNA until that species died out.

Chemistry teacher Kenya Jones- Roberts expressed this same concern.

“I think that nature should just take its course because you don’t know if that will cause further mutations later on. It might cause another problem that you can’t fix,” Jones-Roberts said.

Unfortunately for all those looking for a new island vacation getaway complete with exotic, previously extinct animals, this technology has capacity for private use.

“Anyone in the world that has a few dollars can make a creature, and that changes the game. And that creates a whole new world,” Heinz said, perhaps best summing up anyone’s opinion of the technology.