The DANGERS of CRISPR – A New DNA Manipulation Technique

CRISPR mosquitoIf you’ve never heard of CRISPR-Cas 9, let me give a short explanation of what this is:
 CRISPR technology is another simple yet powerful tool for editing genomes. It uses the computer to allow researchers to easily alter DNA sequences and modify gene function. 
However, its promises also raises incredible ethical concerns….

 

Why Are So Few People Aware of CRISPR?

I only heard about it 4 months ago and I was in shock for several days. But It has been known to scientist and companies since 4 years. It was kept in the dark for a while. But today the information that is given by media has the purpose to excite the reader, to impress us, to make us agree with the scientist who discovered the ‘most impressive and controversial discovery’ in the world. All the bragging by many companies who are willing to invest millions and to earn billions, actually frightened me more and more each time I read something about it.

Whilst journalists where praising it and ‘lifting it to the sky of our imagination’, doom scenarios appeared before my eyes. I saw darkness spreading around this planet by people who claim they want to serve the people, who want to cure all hereditary diseases, who want to extinct all kind of species ( e.g. insects, tiny animals), arguing that these species ‘disturb us humans’ and they are to be blamed for the plagues, our diseases, and even our death.

So this CRISPR-Cas9 manipulation technique is, according to these scientists, THE answer. As they claim that: “This new technology can delete, repair or replace genes, and is faster, easier, cheaper and – in  principle – more precise than other gene-editing techniques.”1

Sounds good, doesn’t it? You have a disease? “We fix your genes and, presto, you’re healthy again.” Do scientist really think we are so stupid to believe this kind of simple “fixing” of someone’s life is possible? I am convinced we get usually ill because of our daily emotional-personal-social-political problems and not visa verse… The reasons for having bad experiences are so difficult to detect between the many layers of our body and soul. I find it very suspicious when scientist are not interested in the Cause of a hereditary disease and they simply reduce a very complicated situation into a “search and replace function.” Are humans reduced to some kind of a computer game? 
We are very complicated living beings with a body a soul and a spirit!

Serious? Blaming malaria mosquitos for the death of millions in Africa?
Imagine, those tiny insects or animals, are blamed for all that goes wrong with the social issues we ourselves created… People dying in Africa “because” of the malaria mosquitos. Did you ever read a ‘western’ description of malaria? It never mentions it as the root cause of death of a patient. My mother had malaria 7 times before I was born… she died at the age of 99. So, are people dying from malaria mosquitos or because their life condition is so horrifying bad? Their life forces are drained out of them as they constantly worry how they will survive the next day. Add this to their weak condition and you will understand that malaria just sucks the last healthy bit out of them and they die.

So do we have to extinguish those mosquitos, or are we seeing a symptom of the most embarrassing social/political situations which governments have created?
Poor governing and a frightful lack of brotherhood amongst the nations are to be blamed, not mosquitos.

So we, We-the-People, have to realize that Companies, certain politicians and now also some scientists have joined forces with each other and are only interested in making money from anything possible.

 

Is there an alternative solution for the malaria problem?

In just 5 minutes searching the internet, I found this amazing temporary solution to the malaria problem which has been developed by a company that doesn’t require scientists to extinguish whole species with a new CRISPR technique. A solution that can protect, for the time being, millions of people whose conditions are unbearable, till governments unite to raise the level of their living conditions, solve their hunger, and sufferings.

Following is an advertisement for this company:
“Forget all the toxic insect sprays, satisfying to watch but ineffective bug zappers, or just imprisoning yourself indoors all summer, just wear this cool new -Netsmen Wearable Mosquito Suit- instead and never, ever surrender.”

I would like to add: we do not need the CRISPR technique to eradicate those mosquitos, we have a humane solution.

 

Negative symptoms of a social-political situation

The Bill Gates Foundation is partnering with the British government to try to eradicate the malaria disease. They committed to spending more than $4 billion over the next five years to do so.

“U.K. AND BILL GATES PLEDGE $4.3 BILLION TO FIGHT MALARIA.” 2

Now I ask you to make a simple calculation: this Netsmen Wearable Mosquito Suit 3 cost at this moment 58 dollars. Let’s say countries will get together and buy 1, 2, 3 million of these suits. Of course, the price will go down. And if it will be made in Africa, we already know, that it might cost 10 dollars, or even less… But we’ll make the calculation with this high price. How many suits can be bought for 4 billion?  Almost 70 million suits to cover people and protect them from the malaria mosquitos. How many suits can be bought when they will cost 10 dollars? 400 million suits… how many die from malaria?  Half a million people. So how much money do we need to protect half a million people? Let’s be large and protect 1 million people with a suit that costs $58… we will need only…. $58,000,000. So how much money can Bill Gates give as a present to the African people to raise there living conditions to better ones?

We are left over with 3,942,000,000 almost the whole 4 billion. That is how millions of our tax money is wasted on bad business.Because don’t forget, Bill Gates is rich because he got tax deductions or did not pay taxes at all… so that money is unpaid tax money… It is actually ours.

Instead of wasting billions of dollars in fighting the symptoms of a social-political situation, Bill Gates should start spending some of his excessive amount of money, to improve living conditions in Africa. Otherwise, when he with his companies has killed all the mosquitos, many people will still die from other “diseases”. We do not have a malaria mosquito problem, we have a social-political situation which needs solutions.

And what is the first thing needed to improve their living conditions? Let the rich countries once and for all stop consuming and destroying so much unnecessary food and start feeding African nations instead. It is all a question of the right distribution instead of lack of food. There is plenty of food to feed the world. Any scientist is today agreeing with this statement. There is also plenty of money in the hands of a few that can help millions of people everywhere around the globe.

 

The side effects of exterminating the mosquitoes

According to Phil Lounibos, an entomologist at Florida University, mosquito eradication “is fraught with undesirable side effects”.4 He says mosquitoes, which mostly feed on plant nectar, are important pollinators. They are also a food source for birds and bats while their young – as larvae – are consumed by fish and frogs. This could have an effect further up and down the food chain.

Except for Lounibos, scientists claim that this niche could be filled by another insect. Lounibos warns that mosquitoes could be replaced by an insect “equally, or more, undesirable from a public health viewpoint”. Its replacement could even conceivably spread diseases further and faster than mosquitoes do today.
Science writer David Quammen has argued how beneficial mosquitoes are, as they have limited the destructive impact of humanity on nature. “Mosquitoes make tropical rainforests, for humans, virtually uninhabitable,” he said. Rainforests, home to a large share of our total plant and animal species, are under serious threat from man-made destruction. “Nothing has done more to delay this catastrophe over the past 10,000 years, than the mosquito,” Quammen said.4

“Because the ability of genetic changes to spread rapidly in the wild population means that great caution should be taken when building gene drive systems in the laboratory. Accidental or malicious release of a gene drive system into the wild could have unpredictable ecological consequences and thus researchers must use multiple safeguards that are robust to human error and nefarious actions.”
Dr. Simon Bullock, a geneticist.5

So why are some scientists, politicians, and companies with the aid of billionaires like Bill Gates pushing so hard to fight aggressively against such a little mosquito -with so many positive effects for nature – with the aid of the new “easy” CRISPR technique? What do they gain?

To them, it is all about Power, Control and making Money…
We-the-People have only to wake up and see that this is their real motivation.
I read a comment by someone that was present when Bill Gates spoke at a TED conference (TED = spreading ideas, in short, powerful talks) and as a stunt unleashed a small swarm of mosquitoes into the conference hall.6

That person was very angry and commented: “Maybe you rich… executives who make crappy software can go get your blood sucked (by mosquitos) in return for sucking all of your customers’ blood the past 20+ years!”

Is Bill Gates a real philanthropist?
I indeed ask myself: do we, We-the-People want someone like Bill Gates starting to buy his way and force his will on governments, companies, scientists, and people? A person who indeed shamelessly exploited millions of people all over the globe even in Africa, by selling his products expensively and exclusively. A person who made huge profits, by exploiting everyone around him and by hardly having to pay any taxes. Shouldn’t we protest against the fact that he still gets away with his dictatorship-way of handling things with governments?

Is he representing any of us? Or only the 1 % billionaires who are only interested in showing off, being in the center of things, and pretending they are solving the problems of the world, which they themselves helped create. He has around 90 billion dollars and claims he has put it in a charitable foundation7 – Really? Is it now free money for us to use? No, it isn’t free, HE is still deciding where to invest HIS money and he still wants to control and influence people, governments, scientists to ‘work’ for him and execute his ideas. Ideas that we learn from scientists like Phil Lounibos and David Quammen are a threat and danger to the world, while Bill’s -‘his scientists’- will not listen to the wise warnings of just ‘regular’ scientist, who do their work and research honestly and objectively and warn us about the consequences. But they are not given any attention, of course, because only big business and big money speaks. Can we let Bill Gates act as the big philanthropist, with money he stole from society, who wants now to be considered a good person who saves the world by killing mosquitos?

If Bill Gates feels guilty for stealing all that money, what can he do? All he has to do is give it back to the people by paying the taxes he should have done all along. Then that money will be used for society through democratic ways, according to the plans the country has on how to divide and spent the tax money. Instead, Bill Gates uses the excessive money he made over the back of hard-working people, in order to let others execute the plans he has. Does this not look like a dictatorship, only not over a country, but governing and dictating businesses, companies and in the end the lives of people?

So what are the dangers of this CRISPR technique?
Probably not the technique itself. But the kind of immoral, irresponsible behavior coming from people who are only interested in this new technology because it is yet again a new product which companies can Patent, so it will generate billions out of the public. They say “follow the money” but you should start following what is said… Listen and read carefully between the lines in everything that is written about CRISPR. What scientists say, what they publish and what they promise. It starts with the ‘language’ that scientists use in order to manipulate, scare us, or overwhelm us with complicated language that we have to believe rather than understand.

Scientist’s language: 
They use words like: eliminate, wipe out, fix, targeting, tackle, sweep, knock out, chopping out, engineering, eliminate invasive plants, kill rodents, eradicate herbicide.

It all sounds like scientists are at War with nature. They think they have to Destroy anything in nature that ‘disturbs’ humans, or anything they do not like! Scientists use exaggerated expressions to describe things as if it is a  piece of cake to make the most complicated DNA changes in anything living. This in order to impress innocent people and manipulate them to believe and give their consent so they can continue with their innovations and experiments also on humans now.

For example, “a disease or latent hereditary disease is called an error in the DNA of a human embryo which they then want to “fix” as if a disease is a mistake and an embryo is like an engine of a car which needs to be repaired.8 In doing so, they try to reduce a very complicated emotional individual process and an unbelievable meaningful intervention in the DNA of an individual, into a kind of a simple mechanical technical act. This is the worst possible intervention in the individual’s life which takes away his Freedom. His Freedom which begins when he tries to create his own body in the first phases of his life as an embryo.

And let’s be realistic, preventing a hereditary disease in the embryo which deprives him of his human freedom does not guarantee that the same person who has been “saved” from this hereditary disease cannot be disabled by an accident or an illness at a later age. For example Jack Lusseyran, Helen Keller, Stephen Hawking… All got terrible diseases or handicaps after birth but made a huge contribution to society despite or because of their handicap? Nobody knows why he has this or that kind of nose or body, why one person is clever and the other musical or ill. All we know is that this is how we are born, this is the life we need for our own experiences which develops us further. We cannot simultaneously appreciate getting the “good traits” from our forefathers, and calling the “bad traits” a mistake or a defect… Is my life a defect if I have cancer, if I have no arms, if I am blind? But scientists want us to just forget the fact that changes made in our children, the next generations, are changes in living persons and these are not changes made in a machine or a cluster of cells.

 

So, these are a few of the dangers you will be able to consider if I succeeded in making you worry:

  1. Who will determine if the CRISPR technique will be applied? We need an objective, international coordinating body, which collects, reviews and then authorizes all research information, or imposes moratoria on experiments that are (ethically) or medical undesirable or endangers the ecology. Otherwise, each scientist will do as he likes, and will thus create chaos in nature.
  2. Collaboration between governments, companies, and scientists is causing disadvantages that endanger citizens as it is creating conflicts of interest so that citizens cannot trust any of them.
  3. The implications of CRISPR: a small group of scientists and companies determine our lives.
  4. Governments do not protect our democracy, health, and interests; instead, they put money before us, the people.
  5. Scientists and companies lobby to be exempt from laws.
  6. Worried scientists speak out.
  7. Companies have already invested 3,5 billion $ in CRISPR technology, although there are still no laws which Approve this technique?

 

Finally, my request to you…

Only together we can stop the danger of this new CRISPR technique. In the long run, we all will be confronted with it. There is no escape.

Consider these words so you will feel and understand how much your involvement is needed. It is not about me, even not about you personally. It is about the force we create by working together. The inner and outer power that will spread and can help enlarge the positive, humane, loving forces in the world, who lead the world towards brotherhood, towards caring and fully understanding that pure love for all living beings is constantly needed.

The world needs the attention you can give willingly. We need fortitude and courage to create a world build on compassion and benevolence. This can only evolve when each of us will connect and involve himself personally with the essential needs and requirements of other living beings as lovingly as with one’s own needs. I am confident that when we as smart, intelligent humane human beings will collaborate we can do amazingly good things with respect to mother nature!

So please after reading this, send an email back to me, so we can provide you with more detailed information, so that we can enlarge the group of people who really care and want to demand from governments laws that prohibit scientist and companies to use the CRISPR technique on humans, embryos, and animals.

Margalit Laufer
margalitlaufer@me.com
Amsterdam

 

References

1 Megget, Katrina. “Money from Genes: CRISPR Goes Commercial”. Scientific American, January 22, 2016. Web. December 2017

2 Gaffey, Conor. “UK and Bill Gates Pledge $4.3 Billion to Fight Malaria”. Newsweek, January 25, 2016. Web. December 2017

3 “Netsman Wearable Mosquito Suit”. The Green Head, n.d. Web. December 2017

4 Bates, Claire. “Would it be wrong to eradicate mosquitoes?” BBC News, January 28, 2016. Web. December 2017

5 Sample, Ian. “‘Anti-Malarial Mosquitoes’ created using controversial genetic technology”. The Guardian, n.d. Web. December 2017

6 Dennis Tracz. “Mosquitoes Released by Bill Gates @TED”. YouTube, April 17, 2011. Video. December 2017

7 Neate, Rupert. “Bill Gates gives $4.6bn to Charity in biggest donation since 2000”. The Guardian, August 15, 2017. Web. December 2017

8 “Genes and Human Disease”. World Health Organization, n.d. Web. December 2017  

Margalit Laufer

Living in the Netherlands, Therapist, Pedagogue, Author, Theater design

Latest posts by Margalit Laufer (see all)

Margalit Laufer

Living in the Netherlands, Therapist, Pedagogue, Author, Theater design

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *