Dec 21, 16 / Cap 20, 00 01:49 UTC

Asgardia: Genetic Modifications  

What are your thoughts on the modification of the human genome? Besides that, what are your thoughts on the genetic modification of any species; Flora, Fauna, and fungi?

  Last edited by:  Christian Sheppard (Asgardian)  on Dec 21, 16 / Cap 20, 00 03:13 UTC, Total number of edits: 1 time

Dec 21, 16 / Cap 20, 00 04:29 UTC

I agree to improve the human genome and modify plants or bacteria, but only in order to benefit us and the rest of the living beings

Dec 22, 16 / Cap 21, 00 01:04 UTC

Agreed with the genetic modifications also i support them! i mean, this universe is soooo vast right..? and we only have little time to yeah..why not? as long the Asgardia allowed this...

Dec 22, 16 / Cap 21, 00 02:41 UTC

My position follows James Enriquez. To not embrace genetic and other modifications to assist in adaptation to space habitats would be unethical. He gave an excellent speech called "What will humans look like in 100 years?" The link to the video is below.

Dec 22, 16 / Cap 21, 00 05:23 UTC

For those of you that support genetic modification, what changes in the human genome would you see fit to manipulate?

Dec 22, 16 / Cap 21, 00 09:53 UTC

This is a so big field... O.o for now I suggest to modify only probiotics, we can't monitor long term effects of direct modifications. But we can modify intestinal flora for better immunity for example

Dec 23, 16 / Cap 22, 00 18:02 UTC

It's a good point Soikiro that we need to begin at probiotics and work out ways to keep Asgardians and Earthlings healthy and more suitable for life in space.

Dec 23, 16 / Cap 22, 00 21:05 UTC

Let's try to keep the pseudoscience out of Asgardia

The European Food Safety Authority has rejected all petitions by commercial manufacturers for health claims on probiotic products in Europe due to insufficient research and thus inconclusive proof of effectiveness.Occurring over many years, the scientific reviews established that a cause-and-effect relationship had not been sufficiently proven in the products submitted. In the United States where food product labeling requires language approval by the FDA, probiotic manufacturers have received warning letters of impending legal actions for using exaggerated claims of health benefits not supported by clinical evidence of efficacy.

Dec 24, 16 / Cap 23, 00 07:45 UTC

It is being researched extensively. It will happen whether we think it is ethical or desirable or not. Our best course is to engage in the hope to limlit the excesses and guide.

"Modifications will allow us to explore, live, and get to places we wouldn't even dream of today.'

Read more:" Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

"What humans will look like in 100 years: Expert reveals the genetically modified bodies we'll need to survive"

Dec 27, 16 / Cap 26, 00 17:25 UTC

I'm completely agree with qwerty in previous message.

Genetic modifications is essential for our space colonization. By genetic modification we can control (in future) our evolution, theoretically we can prepare our bodies for conditions that is completely different from Earthly.

Dec 28, 16 / Cap 27, 00 12:03 UTC

There will be always people who will tell that "something" is unethical in science and we should not proceed this field. That is a huge problem, due to the lack of knowledge among common people. So, let's be better than that. There is nothing unethical to do research, unless it somehow contradicts with human rights. No research can be held on a human without his/her consent.

It would be unethical to perform genetic modification on a person who does not want it, however there is a problem. No such person will survive in the space. Thus you either agree that you want a modification (we are speaking completely theoretically here, there is no such technique yet), or you help the project from Earth.

Dec 29, 16 / Cap 28, 00 03:22 UTC

Genetic modifications are something not appropriately considered by general population, and that is an issue, being scientists the main responsible for it (media as well, obviously). Besides GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) for industry, food, etc., there is a growing interest in genetic modifications and genome-editing techniques applicable to humans. And lay people must know about this.

To keep it simple, let's say scientists found the goldmine of genetic modifications some years ago now with the development of the ZFN enzymes that lead to TALENs and ultimately to the currently world famous CRISPR/Cas9 system (and its derivatives and improvements). To those who are not in the field, this kind of tools allow for modification of potentially any genetic sequence. This means that genes can be deleted, added or modified. Please do not think of four-armed people, with a pair of feathered wings or gills to breath under water. We talk here about genetic problem solving, improved gene therapy and definite solutions to currently lethal or sublethal conditions. Again, potentially, any gene could be modified in order to turn a genetically affected individual into a perfectly healthy person. Diabetes, Huntington disease, cystic fibrosis... any epidemiologically significant condition could be subjected to be removed from a population. That is the current goal of genome-editing.

Generally speaking, this sort of treatments and techniques must be performed during the embryo stage, and research on human embryos is forbidden in almost most countries (I mean here forbidden in those countries that have an actual regulation on this issue; there are too many countries that lack the proper regulation to act on these matters, and so they most likely perform certain kind of operations that might be doubtful from the ethical point of view). The current situation has been catching attention from the media since a couple of groups in China published in 2015 actual experiments on human embryos (Liang et al (2015) Protein Cell). Based on the author's claims, it was perfectly legal and it was approved by the corresponding authorities in China. Plus, the embryos used for the experiments were actually not viable so there was no issue to any potential future human being. The end point of the Chinese group was to demonstrate that this research is already possible, it can be done anywhere and by anyone and so it must be regulated worldwide. Besides some other posterior experiments by Chinese scientists, genetic modification of human embryos hit the media almost one year ago now; even though the use of human embryos is forbidden in the UK, a group from the Francis Crick Institute in London specifically asked the HFEA (Human Fertility and Embryology Association) for permission to conduct certain experiments on human embryos. Permission was granted, and so things are running.

What does this mean? Well, for a large part of the scientific community, the Chinese opened the Pandora box. Others think they proofed the inevitable, and the British group took the lead to demonstrate that genetic modification must be studied in humans to know exactly what the consequences and limitations are. On these grounds, in September 2015, the Hinxton Group (a compound of specialists in different fields and topics in experimental and social sciences, as well as philosophers and humanists) met in Manchester and released a statement in which they support and explain why they support research on human embryos for genetic modification. Essentially, they refer to the needs of understanding the right tools and biological models for research, the consequences and the responsibilities, and they make emphasis on the need and urgency of letting the general population know about genetic modification, genome-editing technologies, consequences, reasons, etc. Here is a link to the original statement (downloadable PDF file), I recommend having a look at their website:

Finally, I think the question "What changes in the human genome would you see fit to manipulate?" should be considered very carefully. Traits are not to be changed lightly, nor to be chosen to be changed. We should not think in terms of things that can be changed or that may make humans fit better in outer space, for example. Genetic engineering is (since many years now) an exciting and still developing field with inimaginable possibilities, and humans need to step back out of the box, have a look at the big picture and think. Then, work on it, get better on it and become successful in (1) identifying reasons/circumstances to apply genetic modifications, (2) perform genome-editing without error or off-target hits, and (3) explaining why this is important to the general public.

Just to finish, I leave here some key ideas from Dr. Jennifer Doudna (University of California, Berkeley) (Doudna (2015) Nature) released on this topic that are worth remembering and spreading: 1. Safety. Need for ensuring efficiency with no off-target hits to reproduce experiments; 2. Communication. Essential to make scientific progress accessible to scientists, public and society to make them aware of the importance of the new and reach properly based opinion; 3. Guidelines. Collaboratively elaborate policies along with scientists and experts for standards and to establish what is ethically acceptable in research; 4. Regulation. Apply those guidelines to appropriately conduct research and look out for the compliance of the agreement; 5. Caution. Technology cannot be applied to routine practise yet (such as for assisted reproduction).

Sorry for a rather long post, but I didn't have time to make it shorter.

The references for the two publications are: - Doudna J (2015) editing needs scrutiny. Nature 528(7580):S6

  • Liang P, Xu Y, Zhang X, Ding C, Huang R, Zhang Z, Lv J, Xie X, Chen Y, Li Y, Sun Y, Bai Y, Songyang Z, Ma W, Zhou C and Huang J (2015) CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing in human tripronuclear zygotes. Protein Cell 6(5):363-372
  Last edited by:  Roberto de la Fuente Pita (Asgardian)  on Dec 29, 16 / Cap 28, 00 03:27 UTC, Total number of edits: 3 times

Jan 3, 17 / Aqu 03, 01 13:10 UTC

In recent years, the use of gene editing techniques has raised concern among both scientists and the public, with some fearing it could lead to unintended consequences, or even be used to create biological weapons.

Now, researchers have discovered a set of proteins that could act as a kill switch for the Crispr-Cas9 system, potentially blocking both of these outcomes.

Read more: Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Jan 3, 17 / Aqu 03, 01 20:30 UTC

qwerty any technologies potentially can be used to create weapons, all depends on people who owns this technologies, and this is the problem. Always will be someone who will use science to cause harm to others.

So, all that we can do it's just provide more powerful researches and discover countermeasures.

  Last edited by:  Artem Kochenov (Translator, Asgardian)  on Jan 6, 17 / Aqu 06, 01 16:20 UTC, Total number of edits: 1 time

Jan 25, 17 / Aqu 25, 01 14:56 UTC

An interesting article: