The lab in particular is Arhat Abzhanov’s. The scientist is on quite a mission. Without having to plod through excess jargon, he wants to find out which genes among bird embryos are dormant. When he does, he intends to apply the method to curing a birth defect known as HFM or Hemifacial microsomia. As the name suggests, it’s a facial anomaly that affect one out of every 4,500 births.
If you’re wondering how this is connected to the title of the post, keep in mind Dr. Abzhanov is experimenting with birds whose evolutionary ancestors are reptiles. So if he can alter the bird embryos at the specific point where they grow beaks, then he can make the birds revert to their origins. This means the embryos in the egg grow into reptiles. Of course, as noted in his website, ethical standards demand that the eggs are never hatched.
Once this complicated process is accomplished, Dr. Abzhanov intends to do humanity a great service. That is, use the gene altering technique to restore normal human features on unborn HFM babies.
Unlike the production of innovative technology, what Dr. Abzhanov intends to do might take a good number of years. Having explained what he’s up to, please dispel all those Jurassic Park fantasies swimming in your brain.
Source HarvardFiled Under: Geeky Stuff, Technology News