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  • Titill er á ensku Gene editing in the garden : a historical analysis on the accessibility of gene editing tools
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  • Útdráttur er á ensku

    The world of science appears often as a distant discipline, disconnected to the day to day life. However most objects surrounding us were once in a laboratory. Smartphones are a good example. They are computers that can fit in anyone’s pocket. Their primary form, the first computers, however use to take as much space as a cupboard and could fit an entire laboratory. What is developed in a laboratory may one day, if successful, find its place in everybody’s home or hand.
    The digital field has known an important boom in discoveries and it seems that
    the biotech field is on its way to follow the same path. All eyes are directed toward gene editing and the recent gene editing tool: CRISPR-cas9. This tool allow its user to modify the DNA of any organism and thus create a new one. Discovered in 2012, the technology can, today, be purchased by any biohackers on the internet. Gene editing is no longer restricted to laboratories but find its way into the home.
    Gene editing however is not a new technology. Radioactive sources such as
    cobalt-60, are a way to induce mutation in living organism, it is called: radiation
    breeding. In fact, this technology already found its way into the English housewives
    homes of 1960. Muriel Howorth, a dedicated enthusiast scientist, created in 1948 the
    Atomic Gardening Society. The society offered different activities, one of which was to grow irradiated seeds to help scientists find lucrative mutation.
    Muriel Howorth society disappeared in 1963. The loss of its leader and the lack of
    results might have been the cause of its decline. However today, enthusiasts scientists, makers or biohackers benefit from internet and its flow of information. In this thesis we explore how Muriel Howorth helped a technology such as radiation breeding entering the homes in 1960 and discuss how CRISPR-cas9 might follow a similar path in the years to come.

  • 18.6.2019

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