Age of Genomics
Designed Genes: Gene editing defeats diseases and brings species back to life
The age of the genomics is about to start. Process automation by new machines and the help of advanced data analytics have achieved faster and cost-effective genome sequencing rates. Scientists are now able to analyze a person's entire genome for less than USD1,000. Within the next five to ten years, costs are expected to drop to below USD10.
The first successful mapping of the human genome in 2003 has already triggered a breathtaking technological revolution in the field of health care. Over the next decades, health care could change from a treatment-oriented system to a prevention-oriented system with personalized diagnostics and treatments. Swift and cheap DNA analyses will make it possible to diagnose susceptibilities to diseases long before they have established themselves in a person's body. Consequently, treatments can be based on a unique genetic information.
Revolutionary gene editing tools (especially the CRISPR/Cas-system) allow researchers to edit, remove or switch-off genes with unprecedented precision, efficiency and flexibility but clearly also raise ethical issues. This could enable scientists to develop new types of drugs and cure genetic diseases, engineer new synthetic organisms, bring extinct species back to life or eliminate them. Potentially even including bringing back to life.
In 2015, Chinese researchers created an extra-muscular beagle through genome engineering. Miniature pigs are also on sale as pets, for USD 1,600 each.