Custom Creatures?

San Francisco-based biotech wants to see its technology applied for inventing new organisms.

By | January 6, 2015

WIKIMEDIA, NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTECambrian Genomics prints custom DNA sequences, but the company’s founder, Austen Heinz, sees that as just the beginning of what his firm’s technology can achieve. He recently told news outlets that he’d like to see customers be able to create their own creatures.

“Everything that’s alive we want to rewrite,” Heinz told TechRepublic in November. “Everything that’s alive can be made better and more useful to humankind, including human cells. Plants can be made to take out much more carbon out of the atmosphere. We can make humans that are born without disease that can live much longer. We can make humans that can interface directly with computers by growing interfaces into the brain.”

In a report published in the San Francisco Chronicle last week (January 3), Heinz said there would need to be some ethical checks to make sure nothing “bad” is created, but that oversight should not come from the government. “We wouldn’t want the industry to be regulated. So, ‘How do we democratize creation without killing everyone?’ is basically the question.”

Marcy Darnovsky, executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society, told the Chronicle that Heinz’s goals of modifying humans should be taken seriously. “I think that technical project is far more complicated than they acknowledge. Nonetheless, their story about what we should be striving for as human beings, as a society, I think is very troubling.”

Add a Comment

Avatar of: You

You

Processing...
Processing...

Sign In with your LabX Media Group Passport to leave a comment

Not a member? Register Now!

LabX Media Group Passport Logo

Popular Now

  1. Thousands of Mutations Accumulate in the Human Brain Over a Lifetime
  2. 2017 Top 10 Innovations
    Features 2017 Top 10 Innovations

    From single-cell analysis to whole-genome sequencing, this year’s best new products shine on many levels.

  3. Search for Life on the Red Planet
  4. Two Dozen House Republicans Do an About-Face on Tuition Tax
FreeShip