French Teen Injects Himself With DNA Strands Created From Bible and Quran Verses

Thursday, 27 December 2018 - 10:32AM
Genetic Engineering
Thursday, 27 December 2018 - 10:32AM
French Teen Injects Himself With DNA Strands Created From Bible and Quran Verses
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Now that gene editing technologies are becoming more popular in labs around the world and in the basements of amateurs with enough cash to get a DIY kit from the internet, we didn't think that news of someone injecting themselves with something weird could still be surprising. We were wrong. LiveScience reports that a 16-year-old high school student in France found a way to translate pages of the Bible and the Quran into DNA, then took those strands and injected them into his thighs.

In a paper published online this month, Adrien Locatelli claimed to have made history by being the first person to inject themselves with "macromolecules whose primary structure was developed from a religious text." By aligning each letter of the Hebrew and Arabic alphabets with a nucleotide, Locatelli was able to translate parts of the Hebrew book of Genesis and the Quran into custom strands of DNA. With the help of two companies named VectorBuilder and ProteoGenix (which create viruses and synthesize DNA), the young scientist was able to place an order and receive his holy macromolecules in the mail. "I just needed to buy saline solution and a syringe because VectorBuilder sent me liquid and ProteoGenix sent me powder," he told LiveScience. 

Locatelli says that there were no noticeable side effects after the experiment, save for some inflammation at the injection site. "I did this experiment for the symbol of peace between religions and science," Locatelli explained in a statement. "I think that for a religious person it can be good to inject himself his religious text." The actual science discussed in the pre-published paper is scarce, and the experimenter's method of translating the text, though original, holds no historic significance. Sriram Kosuri, a Biochemistry professor at UCLA, told LiveScience that the most the random DNA would probably cause is an allergic reaction, but more information about the rAAV vector (Recombinant adeno-associated virus) is needed to know for sure.
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