Genetic Immunization/DNA vaccination

Enlisting mice in the war against tick-borne disease would just be an amazing proposition. I’m counting 18 on the ears. The number of ticks is astounding, especially on its ears. And if this mouse has the Lyme bacteria, all the ticks will become infected and can transmit the disease to us. Kevin’s plan is to make the mice resistant to Lyme bacteria with the help of genetic engineering’s most exciting and powerful tool… CRISPR. CRISPR stands for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats. That’s why it’s just called “CRISPR.” First discovered in bacteria, CRISPRs are like bacterial immune systems. They have two key parts… A destroyer protein, like one called Cas9, and a piece of RNA that matches viruses that previously infected the bacteria. If the same virus were to invade again, the RNA would recognize the invader’s DNA, attach itself to its old enemy, and its Cas partner would slice the virus’s DNA, destroying it. A few years ago, some researchers realized they could use CRISPR to edit the genome of any living organism. Here’s the idea. Say I have a stretch of DNA, maybe a part of a gene I’d like to change. If I know the sequence of letters there, I can build a CRISPR that carries a matching code. Once inside the cell, CRISPR will scan the DNA until it finds that exact spot. And when it does, it slices the DNA right there. Now I have a broken gene, but it turns out I can insert a new sequence into the gap, and that makes CRISPR potentially an extremely powerful tool. CRISPR Cas engineering is much faster, it’s much less expensive, and it’s much easier to make those changes you want to make. The really significant revolution with CRIPSR Cas9 is that, as far as I can tell, it pretty much works in any organism that you try it in. And M.I.T.’s Kevin Esvelt wants to use CRISPR to change the DNA of mice and make them immune to Lyme bacteria. The original idea that sparked this whole process was very simple. Hey. Hi. Animals like us, and also mice, when we get sick with something, our immune systems evolve an antibody, often lots and lots of antibodies, that are really, really good at telling the immune system “This is the enemy, kill it.” But these antibodies do not get passed on to our children. So we need vaccines to give us antibodies against certain diseases. But there is no human Lyme vaccine. And even if there was one for mice, he couldn’t just line them up for shots. So instead, Kevin wants to give them a genetic vaccine. Here’s how that would work. First, Kevin, with the help of Sam Telford, infects mice in the lab with Lyme bacteria. These mice quickly develop robust, Lyme-resistant antibodies. Next, the team deciphers the genetic code that can create those antibodies. They make this antibody gene in the lab. And inject it, along with CRISPR genes, into the developing sperm cells of Sam’s lab mice. There, CRISPR would clear the way for the new gene to slide into the mouse’s genome. Now, if an engineered male mates with a wild female, roughly 50% of their babies, boys and girls, will inherit the Lyme-resistant gene and begin spreading it to future generations of mice.

AI thinks so I don’t have to. And if I don’t think, who am I?


“we are in danger of losing the capacity that has been the essence of human cognition.”
Which is to say, AI thinks so I don’t have to. And if I don’t think, who am I?

“humans are not a dying twig on the tree of life. On the contrary, we are about to start branching. In the same way that culture coevolved with larger brains, we will co-evolve with our creations. We always have: Humans would be physically different if we had not invented fire or spears. We are Homo technicus as much as Homo sapiens.”

The Enlightenment started with essentially philosophical insights spread by a new technology. Our period is moving in the opposite direction. It has generated a potentially dominating technology in search of a guiding philosophy.