Human evolution and in fact the evolution of all life on Earth is about to change because of a relatively new technology called gene drive.
CRISPR/Cas9 is the current hot tool for modifying, adding or removing life on Earth. It involves the modification of existing genes so that they don’t have to follow the typical rules of heredity.
In normal heredity, there is a 50% chance that any particular gene will be passed from parent to offspring whereas gene drive technology turns that 50% into a nearly 100% guarantee. For example: recent experiments allowed the modification of specific genes in mice to include a “daughterless” drive so that only males would be born ensuring extinction after a few generations.
Proponents justify this technology as a tool for the eradication of invasive species but some scientist see it as problematic – gene editing done on any species opens the door to all sorts of errors and once we start toying with natural ecosystems, the consequences could be deadly. The idea that a species can be removed without provoking a set of negative impacts is wishful thinking. Taking out a carrier of unpleasant parasites or a species that spreads disease doesn’t mean the parasite or disease won’t just jump to a different host.
A few years ago, the United Nations called for a moratorium on this technology. However, the Bill Gates Foundation paid Emerging Ag, a PR firm, over a million dollars to work behind the scenes to stack key UN advisory processes with gene drive friendly scientists and recruited independent academics and public officials to counteract any proposed regulations. Some of those recruited never divulged their conflicts of interest or the role that paid consultants played in stopping the moratorium. The money to be made by dominating this technology may explain Gates interest but what about the U.S. military?
Investing at least $100 million into the project conducted by the shadowy Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the military sees this technology as a means to engineer genetic mischief or worse, a means to unleash a global pandemic. A pandemic outbreak using this technology could be as simple as an insect bite, or contamination of our water system or food supply with technology that would forever alter our chromosomal construct.
Emails obtained through a freedom of Information request by Prickly Research showed that DARPA not only is the world’s largest funder of this research but that they coordinate with almost all major players working on gene drive technology. Thanks to files dubbed “The Gene Drive Files, we also know that DARPA directly funds gene drive research in Australia and the UK.
We also know that the secretive group JASON has undertaken two classified studies on genome editing and gene drives at the request of the U.S. government. The studies, which included input by a Monsanto executive, focused on hostile use of gene drives and the use of gene drives in agriculture.
The JASON’s are a secret organization of scientists, born out of the Manhattan project, whose purpose is to advise the government on difficult technological questions ranging from nuclear missile design to climate change modeling.
Jennifer Doudna, an American biochemist, claims that “genetic engineering is the future of our evolution but Jim Thomas a Researcher with the ETC Group sees it as less than desirable. “Gene drives” he writes “are a powerful and dangerous new technology and potential biological weapon that could have disastrous impacts on peace, food security and the environment, especially if misused. The fact that gene drive development is now being primarily funded and structured by the U.S. military raises alarming questions about this entire field.”
What better way to eliminate your enemy – foreign or domestic?
Source: The Gene Drive Files by the ETC Group; The Extinction of Species, Bill Gates, and the US Military by Global Research; Top U.S. Intelligence Official Calls Gene Editing a WMD Threat by Antonio Regalado, Technology Review.com