The world is indeed a fascinating place where we get to see new marvels every day. Who knew that one day we will see in reality what we have come to know about through superhero comic books and films?
Turns out a real-life Captain America is in the making. No, we are not talking about Chris Evans. This time, it is Josiah Zayner who has become a Marvel hero.
The biohacker is now the first person ever to have edited his own DNA with the CRISPR tool, a technology that can cause changes in an organism's genes. Zayner's firm sells DIY gene-editing kits and believes that the human race deserves to reach beyond its limitations.
The scientist is a former employee of NASA who worked as a researcher at NASA's Ames Research Center on Martian colony habitat design. He has used this tool on himself to remove the myostatin protein from his gene sequence. Myostatin is a growth-inhibiting factor, which when removed can lead to optimised growth patterns in the body.
"This is the first time in history that we are no longer slaves to our genetics," said Zayner after performing the modification, as reported by Mirror. He live-streamed himself on the Internet while injecting the modified DNA into his body. The expected result of such an experiment is extra muscle growth in the injected area.
Another US biohacker is planning to cause a genetic mutation in his body that will enable him to see on the ultraviolet spectrum, much like Superman's X-ray vision.
However, self-experimentation may not be safe after all. A London-based researcher on the CRISPR technology, Robin Lovell-Badge, has warned people of the adverse effects of such operations.
As history has proved, such experiments generally do not end well. Sir David Brewster, the inventor of the kaleidoscope, was almost blinded due to his experiments upon himself. Another scientist, Alexander Bogdanov, died of tuberculosis and malaria after contracting the germs through his blood transfusion experiments.
Let us hope that these experimentations join the ranks of comic book heroes instead. Who knows, we might even witness a Hulk in this lifetime, after experimentation with gamma rays.