When I was barely out of my teen years Intel came up with the 8008 and the 8080. I got a 6800 development kit. Like many others I wanted to tinker with this new technology and see what I could make computers do. Previous to this a computer was something that lived behind glass walls in specially designed environments and processed your utility bills and spit out punch cards or paper in large continuous streams. But now anyone could have one and who knew what might come of that.
Well it’s 40 years later and the human world has completely changed because every thing that the computer became part of has gone into ‘evolutionary overdrive’. We now carry one or more computers in our pockets that are so far advanced compared to even the large machines of that age that it’s almost ludicrous.
Genetics is going through that same change right now.
Bright, young, eager students (hackers and hobbyists) can now engage in activities that only expensive labs could a decade ago. Activities like gene splicing. Bright kids like Keoni Gandall who literally assembled a gene factory / lab in his home.
This New York Times article will likely be a bit of an eye-opener for many. In it you’ll find out that researchers at the University of Alberta recreated an extinct version of Horsepox (a relative of Small Pox) from mail-order parts they reassembled. Without any authorities knowing or getting involved.
It’s really just beginning, this revolution. CRISPR-CAS9 is the 8008 of this nascent tech explosion. What may come is only limited by the imaginations and machinations of a lot of people who aren’t even in the field . . . yet. Some of them are still wearing diapers . . .