Already we've hit the $1000 genome and faster and cheaper DNA sequencing is on the way.
DNA sequencing is going through a speed-up and cost-cutting rate that is similar to that which computer processors have been going through for decades. While the doubling rate of computer power has slowed quite a bit the rate of decrease in DNA sequencing costs has kept up the pace and, in fact, the rate of decline in DNA sequencing costs suddenly accelerated at the end of 2007 has been going down pretty sharply ever since. The cost decline seemed to halt during 2014 only to plunge in 2015.
So why should you care? Really cheap massive amounts of DNA sequencing of cancerous cells will likely turn up many mutations that boost the progress of cancer and enable cancer cells to escape the many treatments that drug companies and academic researchers try to use to kill them. Cheap DNA sequencing might just save you from death by cancer. Having helped someone die from cancer I can assure you that it is a horrible way to go.
Why else care about cheap DNA sequencing? It will turn genetic variants that affect what is the ideal diet for you. I want a test that tells me what sorts of foods to most avoid and which will give the most benefit and which are not going to help or hurt. Granted, you already can benefit yourself by following the Mediterranean Diet or DASH or MIND diet.
Really cheap DNA sequencing will lead to insights about which genetic variants boost physical performance, immune system performance, longevity, and mental performance. This knowledge will eventually be usable in cell therapies and gene therapies to boost your body's performance.
I also expect detailed knowledge of how genetic variants affect human performance will cause a huge boost in IVF and genetic alterations to boost the performance of future generations. The use of IVF and pre-implantation genetic testing will start taking off within 10 years and as sufficient knowledge becomes available to gude choices between embryos for implantation. Crispr-CAS9 and similar genetic editing technologies will mature sufficiently to use for offspring genetic engineering. Then the rate of human evolution will accelerate by orders of magnitude.
Human beings genetically selected for health, beauty, and intelligence will make current humans seem pretty unattractive and lackluster in comparison. Humans born 50 years from now (assuming the robots don't take over first) will make current humans seem pretty lackluster by comparison.
Humans won't be alone in going through accelerated evolution. People who want to have very smart dogs will eagerly pop for genetic engineering of puppies. Dogs might just become the smartest species after humans.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2017 January 09 11:19 PM|