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Biohacking and Ethics

Back in 2017, a biophysicist tried to edit his genome live onstage at a conference. Using the gene-editing tool CRISPR to modify his DNA, the man pulled out a syringe and injected it into his arm. The whole event was livestreamed on Facebook, and the man made headlines that year. The man was Josiah Zayner.

This wasn’t the first time that Zayner did something really crazy. A year before that, in 2016, in a California hotel with Reset host Arielle Duhaime-Ross, Zayner performed a “full-body microbiome transplant”, with goals to fix gut issues and take control of his own medical care, as he found traditional methods very frustrating.

“He set about killing the collection of microbes that live on and inside his body, and replacing them with microbes he’d collected from a friend. The first step was getting that friend to give up his microbes — via skin swabs and poop,” Duhaime-Ross explains on the first episode of Reset.
To launch Reset, a new podcast from Recode and Vox in association with Stitcher about how tech is changing our lives, Duhaime-Ross revisited her 2016 story and interviewed Zayner once again. This time, as she explains below, they discussed what it means to be a biohacker in 2019 and where it might lead in the future.

The full podcast and the transcript is on Recode.

What are your thoughts on this one?

(Image Credit: EliasSch/ Pixabay)


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